I recently toured our 2022 Plant of the Year in preparation for next month’s announcement and cover story reveal of our winner. While there, I had our July cover story in my head and filtered everything I saw through this question: “What is the state of food manufacturing today?”
In order to understand what factors are shaping the industry today and what obstacles operators face in 2022, Clear Seas Research, a B2B market research firm, recently surveyed processors about a wide range of today’s industry challenges, and here are some of the highlights from that report.
In January 2020, I started as the Editor-in-Chief of FOOD ENGINEERING’s sister publication, Refrigerated & Frozen Foods. At the time, I was looking forward to touring cold foods processing plants and learning about the industry firsthand, which in turn, would make our editorial content stronger, because I’d be writing from experience rather than second-hand information delivered via email and phone calls.
The enormous amount of attention paid to ingredients in food and beverage by processors may have some overlooking an equally important element of the F&B experience: the container in which that food or beverage is sold. Packaging today plays many roles: carrier of F&B, protector of temperature-sensitive items, barrier for potential adulteration, manifestation of a brand’s sustainability initiatives and more.
The continued growth of boutique and niche pet food brands the past few years has made for crowded competition at brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. Gone are the days of limited choice among a handful of legacy brands, with equally limited packaging options.
When I visited Poland last November at the invite of Meat from Europe to tour some of their beef and pork plants, one observation I heard often from owners was that the money in meat today lies in case-ready products, which are consumer-friendly cuts packaged and shipped to stores in retail containers.
Within its walls is one of the most technically advanced food processing plants in the country—a greenfield project built from the ground up with automation, labor savings, sustainability and smart design throughout.
The cultivated meat industry is still in its infancy, and like many other burgeoning technologies—food or otherwise—the actual agreed-upon name for what the finished product will be called is being debated by those who make it.