tna solutions has worked in collaboration with the US pork snack company Benestar Brands to develop an efficient processing and packaging line for its bespoke rinds and cracklings. Installed in 2019, the complete solution from tna matched Benestar Brands’ ethos of delivering satisfying products. The new line helped Benestar Brands improve its product quality tenfold, while reducing energy use and enhancing efficiency.
“tna solutions has been a fantastic partner throughout the process,” commented Jose Gomez, CTO at Benestar Brands. “The company’s experts have a deep understanding of our industry, while being open to listening to our specific challenges and finding out-of-the-box solutions. The accommodation of our specific needs, from footprint restrictions and frying demands to intricate seasoning, helped facilitate our partnership with tna and develop an excellent product to satisfy every pork fan.”
A complete line solution from feeding to baggers
Working collaboratively since 2005, Benestar Brands and tna’s engineers have developed an advanced approach to pork rind manufacturing. Every piece of the process, from feeding and frying to distribution systems and packaging, is optimised to ensure better products and a faster return on investment. The tna batch-pro 12 frying technology reduces rejects to less than 3%, while the fryer design minimises oil use, contributing to product and material savings.
In addition, the tna batch-pro 12 fryer system provides direct-fire heating for improved energy efficiencies and lower operating costs, while the tna intelli-flav OMS 5.1 seasoning system allows for consistent coverage without costly ingredient losses, further contributing to a healthy bottom line. Last but not least, the tna robag 3e, high-performance vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) packaging system enabled Benestar Brands to efficiently pack both pork rinds and cracklings on the same line at a high speed.
“I have witnessed tna’s cutting-edge approach to innovations first-hand,” Gomez continued. “The company is a technological trailblazer, outperforming other suppliers on the market. What’s more, the partnership doesn’t stop there. tna’s exceptional training programme and remote support ensures staff receive detailed instruction from an industry expert — something other vendors can’t deliver.”
With a wide portfolio of natural, protein-rich and keto-friendly snacks, Benestar Brands puts specific emphasis on delivering consistently high product quality to its loyal customer base. Investing in tna technology has helped the company to extend snack shelf life, while improving the quality with an eye on continuous improvement.
tna was involved in the optimisation of processing and packaging from the outset, with the pork rinds and cracklins being fully tested at its technical centre facility in Texas, US, prior to the equipment purchase. The toughest products were put to the test to ensure a consistent texture, seasoning and flavour. tna provided guidance and technical support throughout the entire manufacturing process, ensuring the product could be brought to market quickly and efficiently.
“Our partnership with Benestar Brands has been very exciting and has fuelled the engineering innovation of our team,” says Adam Holloway, tna regional sales manager of North America. “Pork rinds have very different product characteristics to traditional snacks we have been working with, such as potato and tortilla chips. We brought the years of processing experience in terms of treating food products in oil baths, while Benestar Brands contributed specific application knowledge — two key ingredients for a successful outcome.”
Achieving efficiency gains and reducing environmental impact were high on the agenda for Benestar Brands when selecting a new production line, driven by regulatory changes and increasing pressures from retailers and consumers. tna helped Benestar Brands to replace direct heating with heat exchanger technology, reducing energy use in the most energy intensive process: frying. tna installed a LO NOx burner, reducing harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and helping the company comply with Californian regulatory requirements.
Thanks to its three-stage oil filtration system, the continuous frying technology from tna ensures efficient oil management and turnover, eliminating the need to discard oil on a daily basis after every single production run, saving costly material. The new fryer also lowers fatty acids levels, enabling nutritionally appealing, consistent end-product that tastes great and has a desirable colour and texture.
Achieving the highest quality levels whilst driving sustainable processes was of significance to Benestar Brands, which is keen to stay true to its values and its customers.
What the future holds
Hitting existing production targets is critical. However, new assets must not only have the capacity to take on current output demands but also handle any forecasted production requirements. Able to handle both pork rinds and cracklings, as well as multiple bag sizes from 1.5 oz to 8 oz, multipurpose equipment from tna safeguards Benestar Brands’ future operations with its inherent flexibility.
With increasing pressures throughout the entire supply chain to do more to protect the environment, Benestar Brands is looking to further collaborate with tna experts on ways to reduce energy consumption, film and product waste, achieving a more sustainable production.
“The opportunities for future collaborations are endless,” added Holloway. “To meet market demands for energy-efficient and sustainable processing and packaging technologies, tna continuously invests in technological innovation, and we look forward to building a greener, more sustainable snacks industry together with Benestar Brands and Jose Gomez personally.”