1. Sustainability & Efficiency
Gen Z and Millennial-driven trends like traceability and clean label have compelled brands to consider their public image from a new perspective. Scrutiny over sourcing and ingredients has become commonplace, but now companies are expected to re-evaluate processes in other parts of their supply chain including manufacturing, production, and packaging.
ProFood Tech's Sustainability Awards exemplified how some organizations are approaching this new challenge. Winners described creative projects that reduced or repurposed waste product, installed energy-generating technology, or replaced outdated equipment with new efficient systems.
Key Takeaway: Sustainability and efficiency projects double your ROI because while saving on production and waste costs, you also get the bonus of promoting your efforts to responsibility-conscious consumers.
2. IT Integration
As one speaker put it, "It's not that food and beverage isn't caught up to IT, it’s that IT isn't caught up to food and beverage." It is no shock that there are huge efficiency and accuracy gains to be made by implementing new ERP or production management systems and software. However, the threat of excessive downtime and restriction of resources both in the office and on the plant floor often cause delays on these projects.
Several IT vendors are now adopting an extremely consultative approach with their clients to ensure smooth transitions. Creating “digital twins” to test and vet out potential scenarios and workflows was also a popular option among manufacturers implementing new production or automation technology. In addition, finding a provider that comes with a strong IT support team was named a priority for many attendees.
Key Takeaway: Transitioning to more advanced IT is inevitable but selecting the right provider and creating a thorough plan for implementation is critical to keeping up the desired rate of production and growth.
3. Never "Off the Shelf"
Though the products and lines of business of attendees at this year's show were extremely varied, one point of consistency was the need to customize new equipment and acquisitions. In an industry where standing out against the competition can make or break a brand's position in their category, making sure that their product is unique, consistent, and safe starts with the right set-up at creation.
Each business has unique space and logistic restrictions, allergen and temperature control needs, and different workforce availability. To combat the potential to fall back on the "how we've always done it" mentality, innovators in the industry are looking to their equipment providers, business advisors and peers for new ideas to keep up with market demands.
Key Takeaway: Even though each business is unique, relying on industry resources and knowledgeable advisors is key to staying ahead of the curve.
Do these trends resonate with you and your business? Comment below if these are projects you are also working on, or issues that are on your mind!