As explained in this previous post, food processing operations require substantial energy. While utility costs are unavoidable, various factors can enhance efficiency and achieve long-term cost savings, including a facility’s water heating system. Considering your production specifications and overall environment, there are specific systems available that can effectively minimize energy consumption in your food or beverage production. Thus, it’s important to explore these systems and understand their differences. So, what are these systems, and how do they vary from one another?Continue Reading “Boilers vs. Direct-Fire vs. Glycol: Water Heating Systems to Consider for Food and Beverage Plants”
There are certain performance expectations your food processing equipment should meet to maximize your return on investment (ROI). Failing to establish and standardize equipment specifications (specs) during the procurement process can directly impact your plant’s safety, sanitation, efficiency and profitability.
You may be thinking, “But Michael, I already have a specs list written out, and it’s worked perfectly for us so far.” And that may be true! However, in my experience, many small- and mid-sized companies have room to improve in this area.Continue Reading “How to Write Better Electrical Specifications for Food Manufacturing Equipment”
Mergers and acquisitions are a driving force in the food industry today. Plus, a growing middle class and the millennial population are less brand loyal than previous generations, leading to a surge in store brands. What does this mean for food manufacturers? How should they respond to this disruption in the industry?
Acknowledge that the next generation is changing the food game
We can’t rely on what we used to know about how consumers make purchasing decisions. “That’s what we’ve always done” is no longer a valid justification in today’s food and beverage market.
Source: Tyco Fire Protection Products
Many food distribution warehouse owners rely on a proven “ceiling only” fire protection system designed specifically for cold storage facilities. The Quell™ Fire Sprinkler System (K17), developed in 2006, has quickly become an industry standard for cold storage warehouses — and for good reason.
Image source: NOAA
Regardless of how active or inactive a particular hurricane season is predicted to be, it only takes one storm to significantly damage your food plant or cold storage warehouse.
Here are some basic steps to prepare your facility for a hurricane:
Automation is on the rise in industrial facilities, food processing plants and cold storage warehouses. At Stellar, we’ve seen more client requests for automation in the past year than ever before.
When people think of automation and cost savings, the obvious usually comes to mind first: labor costs. Projected minimum wage increases and the scarcity of people willing to work in a cold storage environment are driving more owners to invest in automation.
But automating your warehouse can yield more savings beyond just the payroll. Here are six more benefits that you may not have considered.
The need for cold storage facilities is greater than ever. Product integrity and fresh products are in demand as Millennials become major players in the consumer market. This generation of buyers favor healthier, fresher and higher quality products that have a shorter shelf life — meaning an efficient distribution network is crucial to serve these consumers.
But how can you design your warehouse cost-effectively?
The food industry is in the eye of a hurricane named Disruption.
Sweeping consolidation has turned the traditional food industry on its head, leaving major companies like Heinz, Kraft and Unilever feeling under siege. Other major players are working to “redefine” themselves before they become acquisition targets. Taste preferences have evolved and weekday sit-down meals are no longer a mainstay as families are increasingly on-the-go. Therefore, convenience is the name of the game.
Big companies are being challenged by upstart brands: Chobani challenged Yoplait and Dannon, long-time leaders in the yogurt market, and KIND bars have become one of the fastest-selling snack bars on Amazon. Neither company existed at the beginning of the 21st Century! Is the “slow and steady wins the race” mantra of the food industry on the way out?
Believe it or not, 2018 is just around the corner. A lot happened in the food industry in 2017, including groundbreaking mergers like the Amazon-Whole Foods deal, the first major compliance deadlines for Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules and the dawn of a new presidential administration.
We know the food industry doesn’t slow down, so what should you keep an eye on as we venture into the new year? Here are some of my top trends to watch in 2018.
This year was characterized by continued change and disruption in the ever-evolving food and beverage industry from a record-breaking hurricane season to the Amazon-Whole Foods merger.
As a design-build firm specializing in food and beverage plants, we at Stellar observed some notable trends in 2017 that are shaping the way facilities operate and the way companies in the industry do business.
As we approach the new year, here are a few of my reflections and takeaways from the past year in the food and beverage industry.