The food and beverage industry is among the top three industrial users of water, and those who generate the most highly loaded wastewater streams include breweries, distilleries, dairy manufacturers and the sugar industry, concludes a report from Global Water Intelligence (GWI). The report, entitled Water for Food & Beverage: Opportunities in water efficiency and gaining value from wastewater, projects 6.7 percent CAGR over the next seven years, rising to $6 billion spent in water technology in 2020.
The food and beverage industry is now an important growth market for water technology companies because it faces a number of global trends:
1. Global water demand is rising against a fixed supply as is the awareness for adequate wastewater treatment.
2. Awareness of corporate risk for food and beverage companies is rising. Therefore, paying attention to operational and environmental issues is vital to protect brand reputation.
3. As demand for food and beverage brands increases, so does demand for water technologies to provide safe and dependable water supplies.
4. Water technologies can now provide value, allowing water stewardship to go hand-in-hand with profitability. Energy recovery, water efficiency and nutrient recovery ensure that investment will benefit the bottom line.
The report predicts these drivers will increase capital expenditure on water technology from $3.3 billion in 2011 to $6.0 billion in 2020. It shows that European and North American markets will be more sluggish, but emerging markets in China, India and Brazil will grow at double-digit rates.
According to the report, the market’s future growth is not without challenges. The report suggests that even within the food and beverage sector, plant locations, processing steps, ingredients and final consumables vary significantly between sub-sectors (meat, dairy, soft drinks, etc.), and consequently, the water and wastewater needs will differ at the plant level, making universal adoption of technologies less straightforward. Nevertheless, food and beverage companies will still require technologies to be proven to minimize their operational risks.
Water treatment has become part of crucial brand and image management. Processors want to maintain product consistency across different plants/countries, implement social responsibility programs and eliminate micro-pollutants to ensure food safety. “If food and beverage companies don’t follow global best practices in water efficiency, of if they don’t clean up their wastewater properly, then their brand can be permanently impaired within days,” says Christopher Gasson, GWI magazine publisher.