News Features

Ready Meal Depositors from Riggs Autopack- January 17th 2024

Changing consumer lifestyles are driving the ready meal market in the UK, with the on-going trend towards convenience continuing to boost sales.

With consumers becoming more concerned about the quality of food, convenience is no longer a strong enough selling point. In order to maintain consumer interest, ready meal producers place more emphasis in new product development, focusing on the quality of produce and increased sophistication of the meal.

The pressure on firms such as Riggs Autopack, acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading depositor and filling machine manufacturers, is to supply equipment that is reliable, versatile and capable of damage free product handling.

Today’s ready meals contain fresher, often only part cooked ingredients, which enhance both the quality and appearance of the meal. Riggs Autopack has acknowledged that as the product is more solid, it naturally doesn't flow as easily and the particulates become more likely to lock together. Filling machinery from Riggs Autopack is bespoke designed and built, and can overcome the risk of "jamming" and the ability to handle large delicate particulates through careful design of the rotary valve assembly within the dispensing unit.

An area of great significance to the ready meal producer is achieving homogenous proportions with equal mixes of product per meal. This can be difficult to achieve as ready meal depositors have a tendency to draw in the most fluid product, such as sauces or soft particulates first. Alongside this, it is also important to attain an even distribution of the product within the container.

To meet these requirements Riggs Autopack has developed a method of depositing that does not damage the product whilst incorporating a form of agitation that ensures an even distribution. By the use of large capacity hoppers a correct mix of product can be presented to the machine in one batch, either pumped or tipped directly from tote bins, cooking kettles or other holding vessels.

Riggs Autopack depositors are trusted by a wide variety of customers and large scale food manufacturing groups such as Bakkavor, Greencore, Hain Daniels, and Samworth Brothers for example. They are available as a single or multi-head configuration, semi or fully automatic with pneumatic or PLC control, optional servo drive, and low or high level frame.

They can also be supplied with Riggs Autopack's low or high level transfer pumps, and easily integrated with third-party supplied tray & pot sealing conveyors. They are easy to set up and operate, as well as quick to clean and easy to maintain. Each machine is bespoke designed to meet the specific production requirements of the client, and to cater for the product itself and container type and size, whether it's single or multi-compartment.

Riggs Autopack General Manager Andrew Bishop comments: “Our accurate and efficient depositors are suitable for a broad range of depositing applications. We have helped a large variety of small, medium and large scale food producers with their ready meal production needs. Our equipment is extremely versatile and can deposit into an array of containers from single or multi-compartment trays, pots, tubs, bags and pouches.”

Andrew Bishop concluded: “We are able to compete within this competitive market to supply the best depositing solutions because Riggs Autopack’s equipment can achieve minimum waste, excellent fill accuracy and safety in terms of handling hot products, damage free depositing of fragile particulates, repeatable automation and much greater throughput with higher efficiency".

"With regards to the ready meal industry, our machinery is ideal; its ability to rapidly change from one product to another with minimum downtime helps companies to achieve optimum utilisation and profitability”.