The food and beverage industry is being automated. It’s not a secret, and it’s happening faster than we can imagine.
This doesn’t mean that robots are taking over even though those designed to do specific jobs in the packaging industry are playing a greater role. But there is no argument that automation is improving many of the elements of food and beverage industry packaging jobs.
For example, quality control inspection is rising to new heights and levels of dependency with automation. Take bottle filling: Back in the day, human employees had to remove bottles from the line and inspect them before putting them back into the system. Now, this function can be totally automated and completed without any interruption. Other areas of food and beverage industry production that also benefit greatly from automation of packaging machinery include all forms of packing (primary, secondary and tertiary), depalletizing, and unpacking.
Report Confirms Increase in Automation in Food & Beverage Industry
The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), now called the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a leading trade association and global resource for the processing and packaging industry.
A recent report released by the Association confirms the reliance of the industry on automation. In fact, 63 percent of the food and beverage companies that participated in the study that lead to the report indicated that they wanted to find new technology that would help to improve the quality of the food they were packaging, as well as eliminate contamination, and increase shelf life.
According to the report, most of the required improvements can be achieved by investing in up-to-date automated food packaging machinery and equipment. Since close to 50 percent of the companies that participated in the study stated they were likely to increase spending on packaging equipment in the next two years, automation is going to increase rapidly. Certainly, the desire to produce more food in less time is part of the motivation. The other is to reduce wastage of food and in this way increase food security.
One of the highlights of the PMMI 2017 Trends in Food Processing Operations report shows how consumer shopping habits have changed in the past three decades. In 1988 about 90 percent of retail operations were good old traditional grocery stores. By 2014 this figure had reduced to 46 percent. Instead of going to a store that offered “everything”, consumers were rather going to specialty stores where they could find exactly what they wanted. Of course, online options added to this trend, encouraging people to use specialty outlets where they could find exactly what they wanted to buy.
Reasons cited in the 2017 automated packaging report for an increase in the need for automated packaging machinery included:
- A desire for convenient takeaway or home-delivered foods that did not sacrifice nutrition or flavor.
- A preference for food packaged in properly sanitized packaging in a variety of bags and other packaging products.
- A need for well-packaged snack food that is healthy.
There are multiple reasons why the food and beverage industry needs to upgrade to automated packaging machinery. If you need help contact the professionals at Technik Packaging Machinery for advice. We will do all we can to help you make the right decisions.