1 Simple Way to Reduce Customer Complaints by 20 Percent
In June 2017, for the second consecutive month, Trader Joe’s has recalled ice cream. All lot codes of the US retailer’s branded Matcha Green Tea flavoured ice cream were under recall amid fears they could be contaminated with small pieces of metal. For more details click here.
In May 2017, the company also recalled its Mikawaya Chocolate Mochi flavoured ice cream over concerns it may contain peanuts which weren’t listed on the label. As peanuts are a known allergen, federal law requires them to be declared on food labels. For more details click here.
Ice Cream Presents a Foreign Body Challenge
The manufacturing of ice cream today is a sophisticated and highly industrial process, with factories producing millions of litres which are often shipped around the world. However, despite helping ice cream to win its dominant place in the hearts of many consumers, industrialisation presents challenges in terms of detecting foreign bodies.
One company well aware of this is a leading French producer of frozen creams and sorbets. The company installed an x-ray inspection system from Mettler-Toledo Safeline to ensure that the 85 million litres of ice cream it pumps out annually are in perfect condition when they reach consumers.
A Solid Challenge
They set themselves the task of minimising the already small risk of foreign body contamination to further reduce the number of customer complaints it received. The target was a 20 per cent drop in client reclamation’s overall by 2014.
The company was keen to find a solution that offered sophisticated and variable product inspection analysis of its ice creams to avoid false rejects when checking fruit sorbets with large chunks of soft fruit or mistaking hard chocolate chips for a contaminant. It was also vital products could be inspected at varying levels of solidity.
Sweet Solution to Optimise Product Safety
Designed for high-speed multi-lane applications, the X36 Series detects contaminants as small as 0.8mm, including glass, metal, mineral stone and high-density plastic. In addition, the x-ray system incorporates a range of quality control measures to help minimise waste and reduce costs. As well as performing both gross and zoned mass measurements for portion control, the system scans for ice cream tubs which are damaged or have product missing, and ensures product freshness by checking for product trapped in the seal too.
To cope with the freezing and wet conditions it would work under when handling ice cream, the machine was customised. A special lagged drive roller was added to increase drive grip, preventing the entry belt from slipping, as well as a pivoted belt scraper to clean any spillages from the belt.
The Proof is in the Ice Cream
The X36 enabled the French manufacturer to beat its original deadline (complaints about contaminants from customers reduced by 20 per cent more than one year ahead of schedule – woo hoo!) and witness a real increase in quality control.
In fact, the company was so impressed with the x-ray system, it’s since installed a combination x-ray and checkweighing system for lines producing cones and individual ices.
Did you know that product inspection technology can help to prevent labelling errors too? Find out how in next weeks blog post ‘How to Get Labels Right the First Time, Every Time!’
Discover more about the X36 Series here.