KANSAS CITY - The fact that cookies are easy to produce and sell with simple recipes that yield large quantities makes them a perfect choice for producing at the commissary level, said Tim Levin, the marketing manager of Hicksville, NY-based Empire Bakery Equipment.

In the wake of the pandemic, cookies are easy to package for grab-and-go shoppers, giving customers peace of mind, and avoiding the challenge of self-serve counters that retailers often used for donuts and bagels in the pre-pandemic era.

With many retailers still experiencing limited operations in the instore bakery, using a commissary or other third-party production facility can help retailers keep their cookie offerings on track.

 “The ability to feed multiple stores from one location is extremely convenient,” Levin said. “Using a commissary saves production time for multiple locations by having production centered at one place. Another benefit is the products are more consistent from one location to the next. Having them produced in one place and distributed to different locations ensures a consistent product no matter where the customer is.”

Empire can offer production facilities plenty of equipment options that streamline cookie production and help commissaries and central kitchens make the most of their cookie lines.

According to Levin, the best place to start is with a cookie depositor that can help simplify, automate and speed up cookie production with a consistent production experience around the clock.

“Empire offers a machine that is capable of producing cookies filled with creams, jams, ganache [and more],” Levin said. “Our Multiform Encrusting Machine features a dual hopper design for the accommodation of both filling and dough and produces perfect and consistent filled cookies and cakes. Each of our cookie depositors require less labor and staff than manual production would require. Therefore, less people are needed in the bakery which helps with distancing staff properly.”  

Unifiller offers solutions for cookie pucks, decorating

Delta, British Columbia-based Unifiller offers numerous solutions to make the perfect cookie, said Terry Neithercut, Unifiller’s business development manager.

“Our UNI-X is perfect for making cookie pucks, and even can be used to sheet dough for cookies to be stamped and/or sheet dough and cut into bars,” Neithercut noted. “The UNI-X is designed to be gentle on the dough, accurate (we offer both a wire and a blade), versatile and extremely easy to clean (no tools). Gourmet cookie pucks are perfect to be made ahead and frozen - then baked as required attracting customers to the bakery to make their purchase.”

Unifiller has also worked with Apex Motion Control to release the Baker-Bot, a versatile robotic bakery assistant that can be easily integrated into a new or existing production line.

Made for decorating cookies and cakes, the Baker-Bot can easily detect cookies for precise product application, thus ensuring consistent and exact decorations every time. Apex Motion Control has created a continuous pumping and automated decorating system that not only decorates but is also capable of stacking trays in a very small footprint. 

“Growth and demand for equipment that helps automate labor-intensive and repetitive tasks has been on the rise for years,” said Martin Riis, director of sales and marketing at Apex. “Now, with our new industry challenges, bakery and food manufacturers alike are often running shifts with limited labor and resources to get their products into the hands of consumers.”

A product that lasts

While the overall instore bakery category has taken a hit amid the pandemic, cookies offer a longer shelf-life that can help the category recover, according to Lenexa, Kan.-based, ingredient and bakery solutions provider Corbion.

 “Throughout the pandemic, consumer buying habits have focused on products that will help stock their pantries,” according to Corbion. “Cookies can help the [bakery] category recover since they offer diverse and customizable options that can hold for extended periods in their pantry without worry about losing quality of freshness. Multipack options are great because they offer consumers variety.”

From stabilizers to emulsifiers and other fortification ingredients, Corbion offers a variety of products and solutions that can support commissaries and central kitchen customers in efforts to meet consumer demands for quality and freshness.

Corbion’s stabilizing products for icing can help keep cookies looking good and maintain flavor longer, and bakers can use some of the company’s versatile mixes and bases to make new and fun cookie flavors and styles that meet consumer flavor trends. 

CraftMark releases thaw-and-sell cookie bites

Indianapolis-based CraftMark Bakery’s newest product comes pre-packaged and ready to thaw and sell. The Thaw & Sell Cookie Bites come in Chocolate Chip, Candy (color-coated chocolate candies and chocolate chips) and Rainbow Sprinkles (multi-colored jimmies mixed throughout a birthday cake-flavored cookie base).

Packaged in tamper-evident tubs and pre-labeled with colorful wrap around labels, the cookie bites offer a fresh-baked appearance and texture. Packaged in one-pound tubs, the small bit sized format expands cookie occasions to all-day snacking.

“Parents are looking for bite-sized options that offer portion control (bite size) and resealable packaging,” according to CraftMark. “In the age of COVID, comfort foods have taken center stage as consumers look for foods that make them feel good during these stressful times.”