Often as a decade comes to a close, articles looking back at the past ten years come across my desk and Web browser. This year is no exception. An article from delish.com listed some of the top food trends of the decade: cupcakes, low-carb diets, smaller serving sizes, the rise of Starbucks, grain-based foods, organic foods, comfort foods, locally grown food purchases and home-cooked meals.

Except for the phenomenon of consumers buying expensive cups of coffee at Starbucks, I would say food industry consumers have been moving toward a back-to-basics mentality for quite some time.

It’s no surprise that trends in food and beverage manufacturing are following a similar path. Engineering and operations executives interviewed byFood Engineering are also focused on the back-to-basics practices of margin improvement, continuous improvement, overall equipment effectiveness and food safety.

Sustainability may have been the buzzword of the decade, but it too reflects a back-to- basics mindset of careful resource usage and judicious budget spending. 

If these key manufacturing topics are of interest to you, I invite to join us at Food Engineering’s annual Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference & Expo, scheduled for April 25-28 in Clearwater Beach, FL. It is the industry’s leading event presenting real-world solutions and expert speakers on automation, processing and packaging  innovation, sustainability and food safety topics for operations, engineering and manufacturing professionals. The 2010 conference program features speakers from The Hershey Food Company, Kraft Foods, Keystone Foods, PepsiCo Foods and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to name a few. For more information, please turn to pages 132-133 in this issue.

The food and beverage industry continues to adapt quickly to consumer demands and financial constraints and deliver high quality products on time because many of its professionals are in a constant learning mode.

Education, whether in life or career, often spells success. It’s a basic you can’t afford to be without. We hope to see you inFood Engineering’s classroom in April 2010.