Ahead of APPEX 2024, we take a look at the opportunities inherent in the fast-evolving food processing industry through the eyes of industry leaders. Here, Michael Faure of Viscofan Globus Australia provides his insights.
The Australian manufacturing sector is at a critical juncture as it seeks to grow onshore capacity and capability while remaining globally competitive. With reference to your business, what do you see as a) the key challenges and b) the main growth opportunities inherent to this dynamic sector?
The cost of raw materials, energy, and labour is increasing, which is putting pressure on margins for food manufacturers. This can make it difficult for companies to remain competitive while maintaining high-quality standards.
Global competition: The Australian food manufacturing sector is facing increasing competition from other countries, particularly in Asia. This can make it challenging for companies to compete on price and quality, and to differentiate themselves in the market.
Changing consumer preferences: Consumer preferences are constantly evolving, and food manufacturers must keep up with these changes to remain relevant. This can require significant investment in research and development, as well as changes to production processes.
Sustainability: Consumers and regulators are increasingly demanding more sustainable and environmentally friendly products and processes. This can be challenging for food manufacturers, particularly those that rely on single-use plastics and other environmentally harmful materials.
Main Growth Opportunities:
Innovation: The Australian food manufacturing sector has a strong tradition of innovation, and companies that can develop new and innovative products and processes are likely to thrive. This includes the development of new plant-based and alternative protein products, as well as the use of automation and digital technologies to improve production efficiency.
Export markets: The growth of the middle class in Asia presents a significant opportunity for Australian food manufacturers to expand into new export markets. This requires a focus on quality and differentiation, as well as an understanding of the cultural and regulatory differences in these markets.
Collaboration: Collaboration between food manufacturers, research institutions, and government agencies can help to drive innovation and improve the competitiveness of the sector. This includes collaboration on research and development, market access, and sustainability initiatives.
Sustainability: The growing demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly products and processes presents an opportunity for food manufacturers that can develop innovative solutions. This includes the development of sustainable packaging, the use of renewable energy sources, and the implementation of sustainable production processes.
What role has automation played in growing your business and advancing your customers production performance
Automation has played a significant role in advancing production performance in the food manufacturing industry. By automating certain processes, food manufacturers can increase their production efficiency, reduce waste, and improve product quality. Automation can also enable food manufacturers to operate around the clock, increasing their output and reducing lead times. We have combined our processing technologies with our extensive knowledge of packaging materials to deliver increased yields and reduce required labour.
To aid with product consistency, we are seeing more inquiries for equipment which is complete with Recipe Management Systems and Data Recording capabilities making product reproduction a far easier and more precise exercise.
What innovative technology/product/solution has your company brought to market recently that sets you apart from your competitors?
Overall, Viscofan Globus's focus on sustainability and innovation has helped to set it apart from its competitors in the food industry. Our range of equipment, casings and packaging technology enables us to offer unique solutions that are tailor made for our customers. We have provided complete processing and packaging solutions to customers.
Of recent times we have introduced a range of product tempering and defrosting solutions that provide clients with environmental and cost benefits including energy, time and labour savings, increased product yields and product to waste reductions.
Working with your customers, what key trends are you observing unfold in the Australasian food and beverage processing sector?
There is an increasing demand for healthier and more nutritious food and beverage products. Consumers are becoming more health-conscious and are looking for products that are low in sugar, salt, and fat, and high in protein and fibre.
Sustainability is becoming an important consideration for consumers, and food and beverage manufacturers are responding by reducing waste, using more eco-friendly packaging, and sourcing ingredients sustainably.
Plant-based and alternative protein products: There is a growing trend towards plant-based and alternative protein products, such as soy, pea, and rice protein. This trend is driven by concerns about the environmental impact of meat production and the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Consumers are looking for food and beverage products that are convenient and easy to prepare. This has led to an increase in ready-to-eat meals, snack bars, and single-serve packaging.
APPEX is a new, all-encompassing trade show for the processing and packaging industry. Your company has signed up as an exhibitor at the inaugural show in March 2024, what made it a compelling platform for your business?
Trade shows like APPEX provide an opportunity for businesses to network with other industry professionals, potential customers, and suppliers. Exhibiting at a trade show can help to generate new leads and build relationships with other businesses in the industry.
We believe APPEX will be an effective way to showcase products and services to a large audience. By exhibiting at a trade show like APPEX, businesses can increase their market exposure and raise awareness of their brand among potential customers.
APPEX will provide a platform for us to launch new products and demonstrate the capabilities of our existing products.
We hope APPEX will provide an opportunity for us to gather market intelligence and gain insights into industry trends and customer preferences. This information can be used to inform product development and marketing strategies.
Trade shows like APPEX bring together businesses and industry experts from across the processing and packaging industry. This provides an opportunity for collaboration and knowledge-sharing, which can lead to new business opportunities and partnerships.