Flexible Food Manufacturing: 5 ‘Blind Spots’ That Can Hurt Your Ability to Adapt to the Market

You could argue that flexibility in food manufacturing has never been more important: new generations of consumers are craving more variety, the internet is reshaping how food is packaged and purchased and a global pandemic just reminded us all of how crucial (and fragile) the supply chain can be.

With some speculating that history could (at least somewhat) repeat itself for another post-pandemic “Roaring Twenties,” how can food and beverage companies prepare for sustainable success in the decade ahead?

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Vertical Farming Can Bring Sustainability and Steadiness to the Supply Chain

As we explained in this previous post, vertical farming is a farming technique where crops are grown indoors in a laboratory-like, climate-controlled space. Instead of a crop being limited to geographical regions that provide the ideal growing conditions, vertical farmers can fine-tune the level of water, nutrients, humidity and temperature, as well as light frequency, duration and intensity to create the most ideal environment possible for the crop to grow.

A handful of rural conventional farms are the mega-producers that supply vast swathes of the country with fruits and vegetables, generally located far away from the urban and suburban areas where their crops are shipped to be made available to consumers. The shipping journey — often spanning thousands of miles of highway or open ocean — leads to large amounts of waste and product loss, in addition to creating a large carbon footprint. 

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Vertical Farming Could Bring the Farm to Your Block

Vertical farming is a soilless method of farming that takes place inside a climate-controlled, laboratory-like environment. Farmers are able to fine-tune indoor spaces to the crops they want to grow, instead of being limited to growing crops that a particular outdoor area can support. 

The ability to grow in-demand produce without the massive footprint of an outdoor farm, regardless of climate, has led to more vertical farming facilities in urban areas, where produce is grown, harvested and quickly shipped to retailers in the same city. This cuts down on product loss and shipping damage while increasing the shelf life and quality of produce once it hits the shelves.

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Considering the Plant-Based Protein Market? Process This First.

The plant-based foods category is diversifying as retail sales have continued to increase, even during the COVID-19 outbreakAccording to Euromonitor, the meat-substitute market is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2023.

Such impressive numbers may have you wondering if you should try the tofu and look into entering this emerging market. Let’s lean on the “know before you go” adage and help you make an informed decision.

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7 Food Industry Trends to Watch in 2020

The food and beverage industry continues to change rapidly, with 2019 seeing the growth of plant-based foods, health and wellness, and clean label products. 

In 2020, conscious consumerism still remains at the core of industry trends. Consumers are factoring both their personal health and the health of the planet into their buying decisions, prioritizing factors like nutrition, convenience and sustainability.  

Understanding what consumers are shopping for is imperative for food companies to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top trends that will impact the food industry in the new year.  

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Maximizing Drone Technology on Food Plant Construction Sites [VIDEO]

Maximizing Drone Technology on Food Plant Construction Sites from Stellar on Vimeo.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are revolutionizing the way buildings are designed and constructed. Stellar leverages this technology on our job sites to make projects more efficient, accurate and cost-effective.

Here are some of the ways we utilize drones:

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Get Started with Cloud-based Asset Management in Your Food Processing Plant

You’ve likely heard a lot about Industry 4.0 and the impact of predictive and prescriptive maintenance on the food and beverage industry. It can sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a few basic investments and the right partner can help streamline the way your facility operates and communicates

Food manufacturing facilities are complex and have various ecosystems operating at different levels, including:

  • Raw materials and receiving
  • Processing and KPIs
  • Monitoring (HMIs, PLCs and networks)
  • Inventory and work orders (ERP and PRM)
  • Packaging and distribution
  • Quality, process safety management (PSM) and safety

But all of these systems don’t always talk to each other. In many facilities, an equipment failure triggers a lengthy domino effect: Maintenance staff has to assess the problem, create a work order, check if a replacement part is available and so on.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

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4 Trends Food Companies Must Champion to Thrive in an Age of Disruptive Innovation

If you’re a decision maker in the food manufacturing space, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your company value sustainability and transparency in its processing?
  • Is your boardroom as diverse as your customer base?
  • Are your company’s leaders listening to those customers to anticipate what they want?
  • Is your company taking tangible steps to be innovative, or does it just say it is?

If you want to thrive — not just survive — in today’s market, you must be answering “yes” to these questions… or at least taking actionable steps toward a “yes.”

The food and beverage industry is changing more than ever before thanks to disruptive innovation, the internet, evolving customer values and more.

Don’t be the next Blockbuster, Kodak or Myspace. The key is to be proactive, not reactive. Where should you begin? Consider these leading trends shaping the industry.

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How to Design Efficient Product Flow into a New Food Plant

Product flow inefficiencies can create a detrimental domino effect within your food and beverage business. When your processing “chain” has breaks and delays, it can cost money, waste time, jeopardize food quality and introduce safety hazards on the production floor.

In last week’s post, we discussed how to detect product flow problems in an existing facility and how to improve them. Now, we’ll focus on how to ensure a new facility is set up for success from receiving to shipping and everything in between.

The ultimate key to success is designing a plant that is linear so that product moves seamlessly downstream through each of the below steps without interruption.

Let’s take a look at those individual steps and how to optimize each for efficient product flow.

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Improving Product Flow in Your Food Manufacturing Facility

Improper product flow can be detrimental to your food plant’s operations in more ways than one. These inefficiencies can cost money, waste time, jeopardize food quality and introduce safety hazards on the production floor.

In this post, we’ll explore the ways your facility may be at risk and what you can do to improve product flow.

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