As food safety continues to make big headlines, manufacturers are leaning more on technology than ever before to balance consumer demand with regulatory and quality standards.
FREMONT, CA: Safety is the top concern for food processing companies, a priority that comes with an increase in publicity around alerts and recalls. Food Processing's recent 2020 Manufacturing Survey cited the statistics from the Public Interest Research Group that show a growth of 10% from 2013 to 2018. Increased vigilance or actual enhancing danger, food manufacturers responding to the survey prioritize employee training and an increased focus on sanitary equipment and standards in their facilities.
The abolition from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had a negative effect on the industry until an agreement was reached to keep access to Canadian and Mexican agricultural markets. It even improves access to the Canadian dairy market. Not only that but also the tariffs on steel and aluminum have hit processors hard, increasing costs for those that use them for packaging.
The 2020 survey by the Food Processing magazine found that the organizations are planning to enhance production. Instead, they are focused on improving efficiencies and spending longer hours on existing lines.
Companies were also concerned about the skills needed to maintain a more sophisticated device. That's leading to more companies investing in training in-house and recruiting technicians.
Because consumers want more sustainable options in food and beverage, manufacturers are responding. As per the International Food Information Council Foundation, consumers' focus on sustainability and climate change will lead manufacturers to look closely at agricultural production practices, how food waste is managed and how they transport their product.
More food processing manufacturers are moving toward a digital future, starting with replacing paper records with electronic records, a strong recommendation from the Food Safety Modernization Act, according to the Food Processing survey. Consumers are also demanding more transparency leading to changes in labeling and packaging and product traceability technology.
Other manufacturers are looking at replacing analog devices with sensors and meters, providing remote access to machine controls, and shifting to cloud computing.