Top 5 Food Manufacturing Trends

Food and beverage is a massive industry made up of many parts. Food manufacturing is one of those parts of the whole, and staying on top of its trends is vital to keeping up with competition and improving your bottom line.

Top 5 Food Manufacturing Trends

The food and beverage industry is a behemoth with a myriad of moving parts. Some of these parts involve trends in consumer tastes and demands while others relate more to the volatile food supply chain.

While the different parts all work together, the trends can differ. For food manufacturers on the plant floor, we’ve put together four top food manufacturing trends that are at the forefront of the conversation.

1. Environmental Sustainability for Food Manufacturing

Two of the most important factors in environmental sustainability are power and water usage. While there are differences between how this is treated in agricultural food production and food manufacturing, the benefits of a sustainable operation can be similar. Optimizing a food manufacturing facility so that it uses less water and less energy, much like the Dairy Farmers of America’s plant in Garden City, Kansas (Food Engineering’s 2018 Sustainable Plant of the Year), is not only beneficial from an environmental standpoint, but it also saves manufacturers money.

2. Automation and Smart Manufacturing for Food and Beverage

In a recent poll conducted by Food Engineering, eighteen percent of respondents reported that they have installed advanced automation systems. Moreso, that number consisted of mostly midsize (501-5,000 employees) and large (more than 5,000 employees) companies. Respondents from large companies were also much more likely to report adding an energy management system.

This makes sense, and it will continue to be a trend for years to come. Automation is a way to curtail rising labor costs and increase efficiency. Look for this trend to impact the bottom line and increase safety for food manufacturers.

3. Food Safety Standards

Food Safety is also a concern, and there are always ways to stay in sync with current regulations and best practices. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) places a strong emphasis on prevention and reduction in foodborne illnesses. For prevention, food manufacturers should focus on standards for sanitation, food defense, inspection and compliance as well as preventative controls.

4. Ever Changing Government Regulations for Food Products

Hand-in-hand with food safety, government regulations for food manufacturing and the food and beverage industry as a whole are constantly evolving. This also includes facility cleanliness (where wash down curtain walls can be beneficial), temperature control, and pest control. Local and federal government regulations are where manufacturers look to adhere to the often updated regulations. Here are a few to pay close attention to:

For more information on Government Regulation for food manufacturing, see our Essential Guide for Protecting Food Integrity.

  • Food manufacturing and the food and beverage industry, in general, is constantly changing. Advances in automation, food safety regulations and sustainability are trends that aren’t a flash in the pan. In one way or another, these trends will persist for years to come, and it’s important for your food manufacturing facility to stay updated with the trends so your operations can stay ahead of the curve.

5. Skills Gap and Labor Issues for Food Production

From agriculture to food processing and packaging, many manufacturers have had difficulty finding both skilled and unskilled labor to fill the gaps. Unpredictable logistic issues, insufficient technical training, environmental catastrophes, and infrastructure issues have made it difficult for food supply chains. New complexities, like worker safety in the aftermath of COVID-19 and other ongoing issues, could also bring new challenges when finding skilled labor. 

The Essential Guide: Protecting Food Integrity


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