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How to Choose a Meatball Former

September 12, 2018

Although many people think of Italy when they think of meatballs, it’s unclear where meatballs originated. While Italy does have a version of meatballs called polpettes, they are quite different from the American version of meatballs. Some sources believe köttbullars from Sweden were the first, while others believe köftes in Turkey came before (source). Wherever they came from, there’s one thing we know for sure – the world loves meatballs. According to IKEA, people all over the world eat two million meatballs each day in their 340 stores. If you work in a food processing facility that must keep up with the demand for this popular food, here are tips on how to choose a meatball former.

Raw meatballs with greens on a white background

How to Choose a Meatball Former

Accuracy and Production Goals

When looking for a meatball former, keep your accuracy and production goals in mind. Our BT-008 Meatball Former can create up to 160,000 well-shaped meatballs per hour. With a few small adjustments, you can even control the weight and shape of the meatball on this fast-paced machine.

However, if your facility doesn’t need a machine that produces that many meatballs per hour, the BT-005 or the BT-001 are great options. Since customers expect the same quality product each time they make a purchase, it’s important that the former creates every single meatball to the highest standard.

In addition, consider the “bite” of your meatballs. Consumers often prefer a more homestyle bite because it reminds them of freshly made meatballs, which are more variable when it comes to portion weight. Some machines use vacuum pressure to perfectly control their portion weight, but our BT Titan series of meatball formers uses gravity-fed machines. Due to the gentle product flow into the cavities, the products have a more homestyle bite that is less dense.

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Sanitation and Safety Features

In the food industry, it should go without saying that sanitation and safety are top priorities. Before making a meatball former purchase, ask the manufacturer if the machine complies with USDA standards. Be wary of formers made out of materials other than stainless steel. Stainless steel is one of the most sanitary materials for food processing equipment because it is less likely to form dents and scratches in which food particles could get caught. You should also look for a meatball former with continuous welds and access panels with a polished finish because both features prevent bacteria buildup.

To keep operators safe, select a former with a safety interlock on the hopper lid, safety guarding over the forming mechanism, complete operator controls, and an emergency stop.

Customizable Features

If you are having trouble finding a meatball former that fulfills all your requirements, it might mean that the perfect meatball former hasn’t been created yet. Work with a company, like EnSight Solutions, that will collaborate with you to create a custom meatball former. Want to tailor the drum hole to have one, two, or three holes? No problem. Need a specific shape? We can work with you.


Now that you know how to choose a meatball former, are you ready to get started? Contact EnSight Solutions. With more than 100 years of combined experience in the food processing industry, we are committed to finding creative, effectual solutions to our clients’ equipment needs. We offer a variety of food-grade formers, including the following meatball formers: BT-001, BT-005, BT-008. When you’re ready to get started, please send an e-mail to info@ensightsolutions.us, give us a call at 1-855-736-2195, or find your EnSight sales specialist through our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!

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