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

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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?

 

Vertical Farming Can Bring Sustainability and Steadiness to the Supply Chain

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Vertical Farming Can Bring Sustainability and Steadiness to the Supply Chain_v2

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. 

 

Vertical Farming Could Bring the Farm to Your Block

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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.

 

3 Must-have PSM Elements to Prevent Dust Explosions and Other Disasters

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3 Must-have PSM Elements to Prevent Dust Explosions and Other Disasters

Process Safety Management (PSM) is the OSHA standard that mandates employers identify, evaluate and control potentially hazardous activities, chemicals and components used in their processes.

While PSM audits are performed every three years, you should periodically perform self-audits to protect your facility from punitive measures from OSHA and, more importantly, to protect your employees from potentially catastrophic events that could lead to loss of life or property.

However, this isn’t a guide on performing self-audits (you can read more on that here).

Instead, we’re going to walk through a few PSM elements that you should pay special attention to while performing self-audits.

 

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

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How to Capitalize on the Demand for Plant-based Foods

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.

 

Refrigerated Pet Food Plants: What’s Different?

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Refrigerated Pet Food Plants: What’s Different?

Between 2018 and 2019, pet food production was up 4% globally and increased by double-digits in some regions, according to Alltech’s 2020 Global Feed Survey. Higher-quality food is also in greater demand as more consumers view and treat pets like family.

Among these trends are an increased interest in fresh, refrigerated pet food.

The Associated Press reports that “U.S. sales of fresh pet food in groceries and pet stores jumped 70% to more than $546 million between 2015 and 2018, according to Nielsen, a data company. That doesn’t include online sales or people making their own fresh pet food.”

As a manufacturer, if you’re considering the refrigerated pet food space, there are important differences to keep in mind when it comes to processing and distributing these chilled goods.

 

7 Food Industry Trends to Watch in 2020

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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.  

 

The Secret to Optimizing Your Compressed Air System

Busting the myth that “another compressor” is always the answer

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The Secret to Optimizing Your Compressed Air System

Credit: Kaeser

 

Compressed air is a commonly used power source in manufacturing facilities, but it isn’t necessarily a cheap one. Aided by the Compressed Air Challenge movement, which started 20 years ago, users have started treating compressed air as a utility with supply and demand. 

This has led to a greater understanding of how to use compressed air efficiently, but many facilities are still running on systems that are not optimized.  

 

Maximizing Drone Technology on Food Plant Construction Sites [VIDEO]

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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:

 

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

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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?