Here at Asmech Systems Ltd we work intensively with the food and drink manufacturing sector, supplying and servicing conveyor solutions. Figures show in a recent report from FoodDrinkEurope, that the food & drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Europe. The turnover of industries involved are 20% meat, 15% drinks, 6% processed fruits & vegetables and 4% fish products. These all have a high dependency on water and wastewater solutions to support in the smooth running of production, which reduce operating costs, ensure compliance and increase sustainability.
Knowing that the food and drink manufacturing industry has an important role in the European economy we take a look at the transforming consumer trends that are affecting it.
With the current climate conditions, consumers are leaning towards food manufacturers that limit transport mileage and reduce carbon emissions, therefore they will source local fresh ingredients. 20% of Europeans are now choosing sustainable brands over others in concern over climate change.
Kinder meat & dairy production
Consumption of meat & dairy products is reducing due to concerns over climate change and animal welfare. More and more people are becoming vegans and vegetarians or reducing meat in their diet. Provenance is also a factor with customers wanting to know the source of their meat & dairy, looking at traceability, how humanely animals are treated, and the security of the supply chain of the manufacturer.
The demand for healthier foods has risen in recent years, with consumers looking at products that improve their brain health as well. These include antioxidants found in oily fish & leafy greens, omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. Diet trends have also seen increases in healthier food substitutions such as cauliflower instead of rice, lettuce instead of wraps and courgette strips in place of pasta.
Caring for the environment
Food and drink manufacturers are playing a very important role in supporting customers to help change the state of the planet, by using sustainable packaging and minimizing production processes.
10 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK, with 20% of this coming from food manufacturing, so in a bid to reduce this wastage they are offering less packaging, smaller portions and clearer food labels.
Most people are embracing zero waste initiatives wherever possible, like the banning of plastic bottles & cutlery, disposable straws and single use coffee cups.
As our understanding of our diets is changing, ‘free from’ food sales have increased dramatically in recent years with customers wanting to avoid allergens and irritants in their food. And with other diagnoses of lactose intolerance and coeliac disease, sales have extensively boosted in these ‘free from’ foods and also dairy free milk.
Implications on the food and drink manufacturers
With all the changes of consumer behaviour and preference, the implications to the food and drink manufacturing business is significant. Due to the increases in popular trends, particularly meat free, manufacturers need to respond to this in kind and not get left behind.
Not just with what products are offered but looking at sustainability, production processes, food supply chains and innovation.
To keep up with customer demand and change, food and drink manufacturers must continually look at and adapt their production processes. This is where Asmech Systems Ltd come in. Call us to discuss your requirements of conveyors, we can work with you to design a bespoke system that suits your manufacturing needs.