Customer demands affect every step of the supply chain and food manufacturers will be assessing whether their food facilities are fit to deal with the public’s and retailers changing habits, or if reinvestment is needed.
Here, our business development manager, Oliver Jenkins, looks ahead to 2020 and discusses how consumer trends and new product development (NPD) are changing the way food manufacturers are operating.
As food construction experts, we spend a great deal of time planning and futureproofing our clients’ facilities to ensure they are flexible and adaptable to the demands placed upon them.
Already in 2020, we’ve seen a shift in consumer behaviour with health and the environment at top of the public’s agenda. For many manufacturers and producers this will present NPD opportunities and changes in production methods to bring their businesses in line with consumer and retailers’ expectations.
With many consumers now opting for a more sustainable and plant-based diets, the companies that are investing in these areas are seeing some successes. For example, the public’s desire for vegan alternatives to favourites such as sausage rolls and even fried chicken is driving some high street chains, which would have never previously considered vegan-friendly products, to rethink their range and incorporate more plant-based goods.
Off the back of its incredibly popular vegan sausage roll, Greggs has since launched a vegan steak bake while major supermarkets are all encompassing big changes to their plant-based range. KFC’s vegan burger, which launched nationwide this year, has also proven to a big commercial success with demand 500% higher than anticipated in its initial trial period in 2019.
When a manufacturer decides to invest in NPD, there is usually the challenge of where to produce, as manufacturing space is often at a premium. Subsequently we believe businesses will be looking to modify & extend their factories to cater for these changing demands.
Good design plays a major part of getting this right. Consideration to layouts, technology choices and ensuring there is appropriate segregation of various product lines is very important. Any NPD might contain potential allergens that could contaminate other products, so may need to be kept separate from existing production lines. Ensuring factories are properly zoned, hygienic and well equipped is critical to ensuring products are free from contamination for the desired quality and safety standards.
What can you do?
Although nothing new, consumer trends are always liable to change but we will always on hand to advise our clients on how they can get the best out of their factories.