As one of the leading apple snack processors, Crunch Pak produces over 2 million packages weekly; 300,000 of these include dips. Until recently, the company had been separately packaging the condiments, such as caramel, peanut butter or yogurt. However, not long ago, Crunch Pak realized combining the snack and dip into a single package would not only offer more consumer convenience, it also would improve the company’s savings, production efficiency and flexibility.
At the same time, Crunch Pak was seeing an increased demand for more customized recipes, with many of its customers, such as The Walt Disney Company, ramping up nutritional requirements. Thus, the processor needed the ability to modify its recipes and, if necessary, produce small-scale batches. However, while creating the combined dip cup snacks, Crunch Pak found experimenting and producing custom orders tied up the lines; caused significant product waste; and was labor-intensive and very inefficient. It needed a machine that would reduce the costs associated with producing dip cup containers.
The company decided a depositor might be a possible solution, but it had to be easy to clean and sanitize between batches. Also, to provide flexibility without compromising profitability, the depositor had to take up minimal conveyor line space and reach high levels of accuracy and portion control.
Crunch Pak considered the Hinds-Bock 6P-04 depositor, which satisfied its needs for accuracy and ease of product changeover. However, the design consumed too much linear conveyor space to be a practical solution. So, Hinds-Bock re-engineered the 6P-04 unit so it could be positioned vertically rather than horizontally, reducing the linear conveyor space to just 18 inches. Todd Danko, director of operations for Crunch Pak, was impressed by the Hinds-Bock customization.
“There were other options available in the marketplace, but our decision to go with the Hinds-Bock product came down to the company’s quality and reputation, and the depositor’s portion control and accuracy, which we knew would provide us with a faster ROI,” he recalls.
Now, Crunch Pak can take advantage of the machine’s fast, easy changeovers, which reduce to 45 minutes the cleaning and sanitizing times between sauce rotations. By using the 6P-04V unit, Crunch Pak has cut labor costs and product waste, while producing more small-scale batches. Plus, it can easily switch between dips and other recipes.
“We’ve easily streamlined the cleaning and sanitizing process internally,” says Danko. “It’s a piece of cake for our guys to wheel out the machine, disassemble it and put it back together without any issues.”
Crunch Pak now experiments freely with new recipes, without any concerns about being less profitable. Additionally, by depositing sauce into a cavity rather than a separate dipping cup, the company produces a simplified end-product that offers consumers more convenience. All of this is helping the processor attract more business, including scoring a contract with its new customer—the NBA.