They say trends come and go but we all know that sometimes, they stick around. We've identified the top 3 trends in food processing industry this year via research and survey of our existing clients. These are 3 trends that we think have some real staying power:
The food processing industry has seen the adoption of automation over the last few years and more processors are expected to adapt to these changes in the next few years. In fact, it’s expected to be the area in which food processing operations will be most affected over the next 5 years. It’s clear to see this growing trend by comparing today’s plants with the plants of a decade ago: where you would have seen far less automated components than today. in 2018 we are seeing automation moving into new areas of the processing plant aside from the production lines. An example is fully automated water treatment systems.
Sustainability has long been a buzz word in the food industry. Some look at it superficially, setting only small goals for improvement in order to say they practice. Others truly seek to save resources and set up entire teams or divisions to help increase sustainability efforts. With the gaining popularity of local/sustainable food products and ingredients, forward thinking food processors are taking an even deeper look at sustainability across the entire supply chain as well as in their own facilities. While many food processors do struggle to save resources like water and electricity while remaining efficient on the production side, it has been shown that when done correctly, sustainability efforts actually save money and increase the bottom line. Plus, these days there are more water and energy saving tools and techniques than ever before, making it even easier to start on a successful sustainability journey.
Now, this seems like a given as far as goals of food processors but this is another category that is driven more and more by the demands from consumers. At times when consumers are looking to save money, they are looking for low cost food products. This creates a challenge for food processors dealing with rising labor and ingredient costs but it is pushing the boundaries in how these problems are solved. This can include thinking beyond capital costs for equipment that can drive down production or operational costs but may seem too pricey initially. There is an interesting whitepaper which makes an excellent argument for investing in the tools to improve manufacturing. Download the whitepaper “Carpe Aqua” here.
For more trends in the food industry plus a report on the state of food manufacturing, check out Food Engineering’s State of Food Manufacturing Survey 2018 here.