Understanding Trends In Food Processing

Friday, February 2nd, 2018 | 1461 Views

Ricky Ong, sales manager—Asia, Heat and Control, talks about four ways the food processing industry is evolving and what food processors should take note of in the coming year.


The food processing industry is constantly evolving, as new advancements in technology with industry 4.0, green manufacturing, cost savings from using single source suppliers, changes in consumer tastes, and a growing demand for healthier foods drive innovation and product output. Food processors need to keep pace with these emerging market trends and look to invest in their operations for the future, while still maintaining efficiency in production levels to maximise profits.


All From A Single Source

 

The cost benefits of engaging a single source supplier are becoming more apparent as food processors look to streamline their operations. From the initial concept design and engineering, equipment manufacture, installation and future servicing needs, having the entire project managed by one supplier is a far easier and more efficient process.

The advantages of using a processing and packaging single source supplier means that food operators can draw upon the expertise of suppliers who can offer their customers innovative solutions along the full asset lifecycle, from projection conception through to completion. 


Changing Consumer Tastes

 

Growing diversity in global populations, and more people travelling internationally than ever before, means that customers are being exposed to different foods and flavours. Food manufacturers need to ensure they are constantly evaluating what seasoning they use on their products, as consumers are looking to try new flavours.

As the demand for new seasoning increases, food producers will require seasoning systems with the capability to season a wide range of products on the same line with shorter changeovers times. Consumers are also looking for quality in their products, so seasoning systems that can produce uniform and consistent coverage will be the most popular in the market place.

Different tastes and textures are also particularly evident in snack food manufacturing, as products like Namkeen, a traditional Indian snack, are becoming more popular in Asia. Snack food manufactures are looking for cost effective and efficient frying systems to recreate authentic ethnically-diverse snacks.


The Search Is On For Healthier Food

 

Foods like Namkeen are also becoming more popular with consumers as they are perceived to be a healthier snack food, with base products such as pulse, legume formulations and root vegetables such as cassava and kumara. They have higher protein levels and absorb less oil during the production process.

With life becoming busier by the day, customers are looking for fresh, convenient products with enhances health benefits. As the market shifts to a more conscious focus on health-benefits, consumers are seeking healthier food alternatives to suit their busy lifestyles and food processers have responded through developing a wide range of healthier pre-packaged meals, with lean meats and sliced vegetables.

These meals are meant to give consumers a peace of mind that they can live a busy lifestyle without compromising on their health. The ready-meals market in Asia is also the result of higher disposable income amongst the middle class, with consumers happy to spend more money on healthier convenience meals.


Digitalisation Is Getting Bigger

 

Along with changing consumer tastes, advancements in technology are one of the biggest trends, with Industry 4.0 changing how food processors run their operations. Organisations are seeing the value add benefits that come with increased connectivity levels and digital data exchange along all stages of the processing and packaging production lines.

Industry 4.0 has seen food operators adopting digitalised automation levels at a rapid rate, as they seek ways to streamline their operations and boost output. The PWC ‘Global Building the Digital Enterprise’ survey shows that manufacturing companies plan to invest five percent of annual revenue in digital operations solutions over the next five years. This renewed focus in innovation will transform how the food industry operates as more intelligent factories will see optimised processes resulting in leaner production methods.


Going Green

 

Leaner production methods have also come as a result of increased R&D in green manufacturing, through water and energy reduction technology, waste treatment/reductions and reclaiming or reusing material to be environmentally friendly.

The challenge in green manufacturing is reducing waste and pollution, while finding ways to improve equipment design to see higher production efficiencies both in the equipment and the manufacturing process—and increasing operational cost savings through improved manufacturing design.

Reducing the environmental impacts of processing can lower energy use and overall costs, while providing food manufacturers with innovative technology that will provide a significant return on investment in the years to come.

Where cooking oil is used in production, solutions have been sought to increase the life of the cooking oil. Heating equipment has also been developed to combine the incineration of fryer exhaust pollutants with high-efficiency oil heating to help processors meet emission control regulations. Water reduction has been reduced through the development of water cleanup systems that clean and reuse wash water.

Across all these technologies and industry demands, Heat and Control is constantly re-engineering its existing products and with a strong R&D focus developing new ones with the aim of providing the leanest, most efficient technology to produce the highest quality product.


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