Food Engineering

Editor's Note: Mother Nature is still in charge of the global economy

June 1, 2010
Manufacturers must stay ahead of market demands, economic uncertainty and even environmental matters on a global basis.

If you long for the days when the term “double dip” meant two flavors of your favorite ice cream and the US was the center of your universe, I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you.

The good news is that the economy is showing definite signs of recovery. The bad news is that it’s no longer just what goes on in Minnesota or Texas that affects your plant operations. Events in places from Greece to China to North Korea can affect not only your job, but your life.

After a six-year absence, Food Engineering resurrects one of its long-time signature features for this month’s cover story-“The World’s Top 100 Food and Beverage Companies.” As an editor who’s covered the food and beverage industry for more than 20 years, I cannot recall a past Top 100 report where all the major manufacturers around the world were each wrestling with the same critical issues as they are today: investing abroad, streamlining operations and optimizing sustainable performance. If you’ve had any doubts about the power of the global economy, it’s time to put them to rest.

It’s a bit ironic that we’ve experienced one of the worst oil spills in decades just as governments worldwide and the food and beverage industry have made a major commitment to the sustainability of the environment. Perhaps Mother Nature was reminding us she’s still in charge of the global economy when she let her Icelandic volcano wreak havoc with air traffic, causing human and foodstuff transportation nightmares and food prices to rise in certain areas.

One thing is certain: There is no time for complacency in food and beverage operations. Manufacturers must continue to stay ahead of market demands, economic uncertainty and even environmental matters on a global basis.

Here’s hoping by next summer’s Top 100 cover story, most of our economic and environmental woes will be well behind us.