Columns

See the big picture; get better results

June 4, 2007
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
A recent Food Marketing Institute (FMI) survey reports that consumers are changing the way they shop not only because of recent foodborne outbreaks, but also due to rising energy costs. Unfortunately for the food industry, the survey also says the number of consumers completely or somewhat satisfied with the safety of supermarket food declined from 82 percent last year to 66 percent this year, the lowest point in almost two decades.





With gas prices soaring well above $3 a gallon, the outlook is not so good for the average American household budget. According to the FMI report, consumers said they will cook more meals at home, purchase more store brands and buy more canned, frozen or boxed goods as opposed to freshly prepared foods. Many are adopting a dual food shopping strategy: purchasing dry goods at discount stores and buying other goods at conventional supermarkets.

While the pages of Food Engineering are devoted to innovations in machinery and software, the evolving role of the food engineer means being informed not only about customer needs, but also of consumer needs.

Engineers at Kraft, for example, are focusing on new products such as Oscar Mayer Deli Creations, a complete meal assembled from several of the company’s products. While it may be an engineering nightmare to produce, this is the direction many manufacturers are taking to better serve customers and consumers alike.

Anyone who has watched the evening news knows that corn is the culprit behind some of the nation’s current economic woes. Not only is this commodity in demand for ethanol production, it is now causing food prices to increase because it is the main source of food for dairy cows, cattle and hens, says an ABC News report. Many farmers may shift fields now growing crops such as wheat and soy to increase corn production, causing food prices to soar even higher.

Not my problem, you may think? If consumers stop buying “luxury” items such as Oreos, M&Ms and Chunky Monkey to shave a few dollars off the grocery bill each month, it will be your problem.  You will be asked to squeeze out even more plant efficiency.

Improved food safety and plant efficiency are not special projects; they are a normal part of the food engineer’s job. Seeing the big picture from farm to fork may just make the difference in improving production.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Joyce Fassl, Editor-in-Chief

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Fabulous Food Plant: Paramount Citrus

Learn more about this fabulous food plant in Food Engineering's article, found here.

Podcasts

Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

THE MAGAZINE

Food Engineering Magazine

Food engineering magazine 2014 april cover

2014 April

Catch a preview of the Powder and Bulk Show in this April 2014 edition of Food Engineering. Also, be sure to check out a coffee stick making a real stir and a major advancement in the the pet food industry.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

 

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png