With the food and beverage industry facing so many challenges, from rising raw material costs and implementing more stringent food safety plans to GMO labeling legislation changes and workforce shortages, here’s some good news for a change.

Food and beverage manufacturers at all levels are opening up their wallets, it seems. Preliminary results from Food Engineering’s Annual State of Food Manufacturing Survey point not only to increased plant throughput, but also to increased capital spending. According to study respondents, current budgets are earmarked for updating processing and packaging equipment—an essential way for operations to improve efficiency and tackle flexibility challenges. Food Engineering will reveal the full results of this key study in the September issue.

There’s also optimistic news in the current issue. According to Food Engineering’s 12th annual Replacement Parts & Components Trends Survey, food and beverage manufacturers are spending more money on these critical items, too: In 2013, the mean spending of survey respondents was $1,529,092, compared to $1,245,308 the year before. Truly another step in the right direction for processors, 82 percent of respondents to this study also said their maintenance teams receive food safety-related training on a regular basis, while an additional 11 percent said their teams are beginning to receive food safety-related training. (See pages14-19 in this issue.)

The good news for food continues, and not just on the manufacturing front:

  • Time magazine’s recent cover story declares fat may no longer be the villain we were all led to believe.
  • The Associated Press reports sales of lean, finely textured beef are rebounding.
  • Chinese lawmakers are considering new ways to improve the country’s food safety standards.

So far, so good, for 2014. Here’s hoping the remainder of the year continues to bring favorable news to the food and beverage industry.

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