Extending Burger Bun Shelf Life From 7 Days to 42 Days
The owner of a well-known hamburger franchise in the Caribbean needed our help. He had invested in a bakery manufacturing facility to produce hamburger buns for his 40+ fast-food outlets and provide contract manufacturing services to bakeries throughout the region. He purchased state-of-the-art equipment and hired a top-notch baker with over 20 years of bakery management experience. But due to tropical temperatures and humidity, he was having terrible shelf-life issues.
Customers typically demand a minimum of 14 days shelf life for baked goods like hamburger buns, with the expectation that they maintain good texture and volume. Unfortunately for the franchise owner, his 4-to-7-day shelf life was costing him a fortune in having to remove spoiled hamburger buns from storage shelves and display cases. He estimated a runtime of six months to come up with a solution or risk having to shut down his facility.
Problem-solving on premises
We quickly sent him samples of our two most effective encapsulated bakery ingredients for extending shelf life and improving texture and volume. Two weeks later, we heard back: our ingredients had increased hamburger bun shelf life from 4-7 days to 10 days, but that wasn’t good enough. We flew to the Caribbean to see if we could problem-solve on premises.
That we did: In observing the hamburger bun line, we noticed that the baker’s mix time was shorter than expected. And, he was only adding 1/20th of the recommended use rate of our encapsulated ingredients. It was no wonder they hadn’t achieved the desired results.
So, we tried again. But this time, we added 0.4% of encapsulated Sorbic Acid to potentiate our recommended formulation and ensured that all the ingredients were properly measured and mixed. The proof was in the proofing room where the line baker enthusiastically exclaimed that the dough had more volume and was more uniform than before. The hamburger buns were then baked, and as each sheet was pulled from the oven, the baker noted that the buns had more volume and spring. He then cut them open so we could gauge texture, which we agreed was much improved with no chemical aftertaste. Of course, the real measure of success was shelf life, and that would be determined over time.
Stunning improvement in shelf life
Our return from the Caribbean brought good news, as well. As you can see, the shelf-life results spoke for themselves. The success of our reformulated hamburger bun dough was quite literally off the charts.
“What magic is this?”, exclaimed the line baker. “All along there was a solution to my problems and I didn’t know about it.”
Today the franchise owner and his team no longer have product returns, unhappy customers, or even their jobs to worry about. They had been given six months to solve the problem; with our help, they did it in under two. What’s more, they gained efficiencies in other areas, as well. Instead of having to bake daily, for example, they can bake every other day, saving electricity and better utilizing their personnel. They’re also using our microencapsulated ingredients to improve the quality of their other bread products, such as raisin bread, with similar success.
In the end, the franchise owner credited us with opening a whole new world of opportunity for bakers throughout the Caribbean. Now they can even start exporting their island delights to international customers, as well.