Food & Beverage Manufacturing Experiencing a ‘Global Boom’

Worker Packaging Meat Products in a Meat Production Facility

Aug 28, 2017

According to a recent report from PMMI (Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute), meat, poultry, and seafood manufacturing is experiencing a period of tremendous global growth. The primary driver of this growth is a steadily increasing global population that simply needs more food. In turn, this creates new opportunities for food service providers and opens up new markets for export.

In particular, contract manufacturers within the food manufacturing space have seen a significant uptick in their business opportunities over the last decade. Part of this trend stems from mergers and acquisitions by larger food companies seeking stronger brands in complimentary categories. They essentially buy the box and shutter the associated production assets in favor of lower-cost contract manufacturers.

In other instances, greater efficiencies can be realized by outsourcing production to a facility that, for example, specializes in cheese. These facilities’ ability to source raw ingredients at better prices and produce in greater quantities helps larger companies realize a better margin.

However, while there are plenty of new opportunities, traditional challenges persist. They include sanitation concerns, labor costs, complex regulations, and a shortage of skilled workers. In particular, the report cited that 82 percent of manufacturers are specifying machines with better cleaning capabilities.

This can mean more stainless steel construction for easier wash-down processes or integrated clean-in-place (CIP) or sterilize-in-place (SIP) capabilities. An inability to properly clean food production equipment can not only lead to extensive regulatory actions and fines, but is a leading cause of contaminated food and resource-sapping recalls.

These concerns are reflected by a reported 96 percent of food manufacturers who plan to increase their use of automation over the next three to five years. These types of investments will not only increase throughput, but help with quicker cleaning processes and reign in labor costs.

The report also notes that consumers in developing markets are incorporating more meat into their diets. As one of the largest and most efficient meat and poultry producers, U.S. exports of meat and poultry are up almost three percent, with a total value of more than $228 billion. As new technology allows for preserving meat, seafood, and poultry more effectively and for longer periods of time, U.S. exports are expected to grow even more in the coming years.