Today’s consumers, together with increased oversight from government agencies, are demanding safer, healthier foods. That demand moves down the chain when retailers and foodservice providers ask manufacturers to provide verifiable proof that food safety systems are effectively in place.
Nuts ‘N More, based in East Providence, RI, has taken the initiative to install high-level operational procedures and technologically innovative equipment specifically to comply with rigid food-safety guidelines. An important part of the company’s quality push is the use of an Eriez Xtreme® metal detector conveyor system, which inspects every jar produced at Nuts ‘N More for metal contamination.
The company was created by three close friends in 2012. It gained a sizable following—and a cash infusion—after an appearance in March 2013 on the popular reality television show “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec invested in the fledgling operation. Since that encounter, the company’s sales and exposure in retail outlets have skyrocketed.
“We were looking for healthy alternatives to get more protein into our diets without having to eat another bar or drink another shake,” says Peter Ferreira, Co-Founder and CEO. “In the back of my family’s small bakery shop, we created the first high-protein spread to ever hit the mass market. With the help we received from ‘Shark Tank,’ we’re now focused on doing it in a big way.
“Prior to ‘Shark’ Tank, we had $100,000 in sales over five months. Seven months later, we exceeded $1 million in sales. Our facility is now 20,000 square feet, and we were on track to do about $10 million in sales in 2018. We are in GNC, the Vitamin Shoppe, and Whole Foods, as well as other large retailers. We have gone global since ‘Shark Tank’ as well. We are expanding into Europe, the Middle East, and Canada, and are working on establishing distribution in South America, Asia, and Australia.”
The Nuts ‘N More manufacturing facility processes 10,000 jars of various high-protein spreads per day. Jars measure 3.5 in. dia x 3.5 in. high and are continuously fed through the Eriez Xtreme metal detector, which has a tunnel opening of 14 x 8 in. to accommodate the jars.
The uncapped jars travel on an Eriez conveyor belt that feeds a foil induction process prior to packaging and shipment. According to Ferreira, the foil helps seal in the natural oils of the product.
“Our biggest concern with all our manufacturing processes is the safety and wellbeing of customers,” he says. “We make a high-quality product and need critical control points in place. The Eriez Xtreme metal detector is one of the most important pieces of equipment we have in meeting HACCP guidelines.”
According to Eriez, the Xtreme Metal Detector includes a vivid color touchscreen display, easy-to-use auto setup, a dedicated reject, and an event log. The unit offers greater sensitivity with its multiple frequency range and vibration immunity. An integrated power supply and numerous configurable inputs and outputs allow for easy installation, says the company. Maintenance is trouble-free with the Xtreme unit’s large control opening for easy access to wiring.
“The Xtreme was very easy to set up and operate by our crew,” Ferreira says. “We conduct a verification test twice a day to ensure our metal test pieces are properly detected and rejected. Other than that, the metal detector needs very little monitoring.”