Jerry Murphy, president of Moonachie, New Jersey-based Rondo Inc., also is bullish on the future of ready-to-eat pizza at grocery retail. “The category continues to grow and the demand for easier ways to produce higher quantities with excellent quality.”
Rondo’s Pizzolo is a double-pass sheeter that’s used at the store level to shape crusts from dough balls. One advantage Rondo has over its competitors, Murphy says, is its ability to support a wide range of capacity demands — “from small to very big,” he says.
Most of Rondo’s business in the pizza category, Murphy says, is with central manufacturing locations that have a larger line making pizza bases and toppings — either as kits or finished pizza. Rondo then adds its expertise in crusts.
“We can automate the production of open-celled ‘rustic-style’ crusts with raised edges,” he says.
Delta, British Columbia-based Unifiller Systems Inc. offers a host of equipment solutions that increase customers’ yields and lower their costs and waste through fast and accurate portioning of sauces and doughs, says Andy Sigrist, the company’s senior product manager.
Those solutions include:
- Unique ways to spread pizza and pesto sauces with custom-depositing heads and other solutions;
- For smaller systems, accurate and efficient portioning of sauces with handheld nozzles;
- Pre-bake solutions for spreading gluten-free pizza doughs;
- and Solutions to easily pump and transfer sauces and pastes from shipping containers into hoppers.
What separates Unifiller from the pack when it comes to pizza production equipment, Sigrist says, can be summed in one simple phrase: “easy to use.” As with all its equipment, Unfiller’s pizza equipment has been designed with the goal of using the least number of parts, the simplest design possible and, wherever possible, tool-free disassembly.
“With this approach Unifiller creates the easy way for customers,” he says. “It’s faster to set up, clean and maintain than most other equipment, and it’s simpler to operate, with the fewest adjustments and settings possible.”
Add modularity to the list of advantages offered by Unifiller’s pizza production equipment, Sigrist says. The company’s products easily integrate into automated systems, and many customers use a combination of modular Unifiller products to change their systems for specific production runs. “This provides a very flexible production environment that’s efficient and offers a good return on the investment.” Looking ahead, pizza production equipment is definitely a growth category for Unifiller, Sigrist says.
“Absolutely,” he says. “Unifiller has a strong focus in the food industry and the baking industry. Pizza is a growing trend, and we have the equipment for more efficient, more sanitary and more economical applications.”
It’s being driven in North America, he says, by trends like fusion of ethnic flavors in sauces and toppings and the use of apps to order and trace the progress of your pizza as it’s being delivered.
But it’s not just future customers in the U.S. and Canada who can benefit from Unifiller’s efficient, sanitary and economical equipment.
“Pizza is a growing trend the world over,” Sigrist says. “In the last decade, as the middle class grows in countries like India and South Africa, the demand for more ‘Western’ products like pizza grows.”
Columbus, Ohio-based Grote Co.’s complete pizza systems — featuring conveyors, sauce applicators, border-free topping applicators and topping slicers — can produce up to 2,700 pizzas per hour in a single lane, says Randy Medina, the company’s pizza application specialist. And in recent years Grote has upgraded its technology to scale from single lanes to multiple lanes, allowing for even higher production.
Adaptability is one of the hallmarks of Grote’s pizza production technology, Medina says. “Today manufacturers are tasked with creating pizzas with a wider range of new, quality ingredients,” he says. “In order to meet the demand for more SKUs, our equipment needs to apply or slice each of these products and offer quick change-outs and sanitation to keep production up and running.”
In addition to multi-lane technology, recent innovations at Grote include vision inspection systems to detect if ingredients are missing. And looking ahead, Medina expects extensive use of virtual and augmented reality to support Grote’s sales and service departments.
The Accuslice-100PC-1A from Santa Barbara, California-based FoodTools can turn out up to 1,500 products per hour. Designed to cut not only pizza but also lasagna and quesadillas at high speeds, the Accuslice features a single product lane and can be customized to cut round, rectangular or square products. Changeover between products is quick and easy, making the machine perfect for any production facility that cuts large quantities of pizza.
With the Accuslice, suppliers get a big return on their investment through labor savings and improved portion quality and consistency. The machine’s accessories and blade sets require minimal change to slice new products, and its efficient design means it can fit in locations with space limitations.