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Recent News from MFG Tray

Wood is Dead: Replacing Wooden Trays with Composite Trays in the Confectionery Industry

Posted on May 10, 2022

Light Weight Starch Trays by MFG TrayWood is dead. Literally and figuratively.

People have used wood for millennia. From crafting tools and constructing homes to building ships and making art, it’s a part of nearly every industry. But, in a world where production times need to be as efficient as possible, it’s important to look to advanced technologies and materials.

For instance, many businesses in the confectionery industry are still using legacy handling equipment such as wooden trays, boxes, and racks. To minimize production holdups and foster a healthy bottom line, candy makers, bakers, and chocolatiers need to upgrade these production essentials from wood to glass-reinforced composite material.

If you’re interested in learning more, MFG Tray, a leading manufacturer of composite confectionery trays, flats, and containers, explores the landscape of confections and the use of safe and more efficient products to run throughout the production process.

The Scoop on Sweets

The confectionery industry is booming. Global candy sales are expected to grow from $217.8 billion in 2020 to $290.7 billion by 2028. Chocolates have earned the top spot in the industry, bringing in a whopping $15.6 billion in 2021. Non-chocolates, including gummies and hard candy, is the second-most purchased, totaling $8.3 billion in sales for the industry.

In June 2021, the National Candy Association (NCA) hosted its Sweets and Snacks Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana. More than 450 exhibitors attended to showcase new products and work through some of the pandemic-related hurdles faced by the industry, including a reduction in mint sales and self-checkout at grocery stores making impulse buys less likely.

Even still, consumer demand for sweets is growing, and with it comes the need to produce high-quality candies efficiently. For companies looking to capitalize on the world’s insatiable sweet tooth, high-quality production equipment and processes will be essential to a healthy bottom line.

Undoubtedly, candy machinery is the foundation of your production line. But, to fully optimize your processes, you need to invest in high-quality and long-lasting trays to run with your equipment such as glass-reinforced composite starch trays, holding, gum, and stock boxes.

The Case for Composites: Starch and Gum Trays in Confectionery Production

Hot tables, refrigeration units, melting tanks, wrapping machines, and more. So much is needed to produce tasty, quality candy at affordable prices for both manufacturers and consumers. Using versatile trays to reduce overhead costs and keep kitchens, laboratories, and production lines organized can drastically improve efficiency in the confectionery industry.

By the very nature of their makeup, composite trays are stronger than their natural counterparts. Even still, they maintain a lightness and flexibility that makes them easily used for any manner of production. Composites can also withstand a wide range of temperatures and moisture conditions. They are less susceptible to warping, bending, and breaking, thus reducing the cost of replacement in the long term.

In addition to their strength, some composite trays and other surfaces can serve as food-safe surfaces. Their smooth edges and seamless design drastically reduce the likelihood of foreign objects finding their way into the finished product. Furthermore, the smooth surface of composite materials makes them easily washable and stain-resistant, limiting the risk of harmful cross-contamination.

Perhaps most importantly, composite trays are versatile. They fit easily into stacks with trays of any material, making it possible to integrate them into production lines even if you’re still using wood trays. Moreover, composite trays can double as cooling racks, storage containers, or virtually any other use as needed in a pinch.

Wood Falls by the Wayside

Though wood trays are aesthetically pleasing, their use in the confectionery industry poses various problems.

Over time, wooden materials become susceptible to warping, bending, splintering, and, eventually, breaking. Despite a lower cost per piece that can make wood seem enticing, the cost of eventual replacement often exceeds the cost of a more durable composite that needs to be purchased only once. What’s more, heating and cooling on wooden trays breaks the material down more quickly, making them less versatile than their composite counterparts.

When splintering occurs, wooden trays become potentially hazardous as a food surface, increasing the potential that a foreign object makes its way into the product. This disruption in production can lead to product losses and process disruptions, making efficiency standards harder to come by. More importantly, splinters that make their way into products and onto shelves could be consumed by customers, creating a whole slew of possible problems that no manufacturer wants to contend with.

Wood trays are also more challenging to clean than composites. Because wood is naturally absorbent, certain substances may bleed into the trays, making it harder to avoid cross-contamination and staining.

High-Quality Confections

At MFG Tray, we understand how much confection manufacturers are up against on a daily basis, especially during these turbulent times. From industry changes related to Covid-19 to shifts in consumer demand, the needs of candy makers are constantly evolving. To help you meet new customer preferences and maintain a healthy bottom line, MFG Tray has developed a variety of proprietary composition material trays specifically designed for our friends in the confectionery industry. These trays offer you the chance to streamline your production process and improve your efficiency standards.

The era of wood has come and gone, leaving in its wake the need for quality, long-lasting materials that leave little room for worry and plenty of space for profit. If you’re ready to make the switch from wood to composite trays, contact us today to learn more about how we can serve you.


Leading manufacturer of high-strength, glass-reinforced composite containers, trays, boxes, flats and totes for material handling in the metal working, plastics and electronics assembly industries, as well as in food service, confectionery and pharmaceutical processing.

MFG Tray continually develops customized solutions for specific material-handling challenges and applications. Customers are encouraged to contact MFG Tray to discuss any unique handling and design requirements.


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