Plant capital projects of all types have been on hold for almost a year, and packaging equipment outlays are no exception. Packaging spending is projected to increase 0.5 percent at food plants this year and remain flat for beverage products, according to the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute’s annual Customer Purchasing Plans study.

Together, food and beverage processors are expected to spend $2.9 billion this year, up slightly from 2001 when overall spending decreased. PMMI’S Charles Yuska holds out hope for a rally, “once [industrial goods companies] determine the economy is in fact recovering and consumers will continue to support their products.”

The PMMI survey of 409 equipment-purchaser decision-makers was conducted in January and February.