Writing a trends piece like this one is both one of the hardest and easiest articles to create. On the one hand, you’re sifting through all kinds of data, talking to people, seeing what other people are predicting and putting it all together in a coherent piece of prognostication. On the other hand, you basically get to make stuff up and no one can really hold it against you if you get it wrong—especially if some world-altering event comes along and flips over the game board on us. Barring some existential bully doing just that, it should come as no surprise that we’re predicting food and beverage manufacturers to continue spending money to improve throughput and meet consumer demands. They’re going to do this despite continued signs of a recession lurking in the shadows.