The food and beverage industry is experiencing an era of unprecedented change, driven by technological advances, new global frameworks and a transformation of the supply chain to build resilience and efficiencies across the global food system. Rising raw material, energy and labour costs, stagnating consumer incomes, intense competition, and pricing pressures from retailers all mean that decent margins in the food and beverage industry are increasingly elusive.
With this in mind, the pressure on food and beverage companies to minimise wastage and maximise resources has never been greater. They are under intense pressure to meet ever-growing demand from regulators and consumers – and will need to nourish a global population that is projected to rise from 7.8 billion in 2020 to 9.7 billion in 2050.
In addition, consumers are increasingly expecting that companies demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability and are choosing brands and products based on their environmental credentials. They are also demanding healthier, free-from and plant-based options, putting increased demand on the cold chain to ensure the safety of perishable foods.
Across the entire supply chain, companies in the food and beverage industry rely on critical, energy-intensive assets that are notoriously fickle when it comes to performance. Increasingly, these companies are turning to next-generation Energy Management Systems (EMS) that consist of wireless energy monitoring equipment, enabling them to gain insight into critical assets and ensure operational efficiency and performance – and prevent risk of costly downtime.
In our new whitepaper, ‘Energy insights: the secret sauce for the food and beverage industry,’ we explore the challenges facing the food and beverage industry today and outline how companies can ensure performance, safeguard quality and strengthen their brand with smarter use of energy. We demonstrate how energy management can be the key to balancing profitability and sustainability through the implementation of non-invasive, wireless sensor technology that delivers actionable energy insights – the secret sauce that companies need to boost operational efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure the performance of their assets.
Throughout every segment of the food and beverage industry – from growers to manufacturing to storage and cold chain to distribution and retail – narrow profit margins are often accepted as an inevitable part of the business. But with this acceptance, food and beverage companies must address the following energy challenges in order to improve and maximise their margins.
The high costs of energy-intensive processes: The industry relies on the extensive use of refrigeration, heating, air compressors and other energy-intensive equipment across production processes.
Maximise efficiency and minimise wastage: Reliance on ageing assets – combined with building management system overrides, off-hours consumption, or equipment that is run inefficiently – can result in costly energy inefficiencies and wastage.
Perishable products make failures expensive: Problems with heating processes, or refrigeration equipment in the cold chain or at supermarkets, can easily lead to a failure in meeting safety or quality standards – leading to costly repairs, food wastage, lost sales and a tarnished reputation.
More automation increases reliance on equipment: The greater the reliance on technology, the greater the vulnerability to equipment failures. Resilient operations with a proactive maintenance programme are critical to ensure products meet regulatory standards and reduce downtime.
The increased focus on energy sustainability: As large energy consumers, food and beverage companies are under increasing pressure from consumers and regulators to focus on energy sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint.
The most accessible path to greater profit for companies in the food and beverage industry is a reduction in business-as-usual operating costs – including energy. Obtaining visibility into energy usage can be the key to balancing profitability and sustainability, and energy management can yield actionable and accountable energy insights to help companies address 3 key areas:
According to our research, leading businesses are increasingly leveraging energy data to transform their business and accelerate their journey to energy efficiency, resilience and sustainability. 76% of sustainable businesses are utilising data collected from sensors and smart devices to improve decision making, compared with 56% of other businesses – and 45% of sustainable businesses are transforming energy data into specific, actionable improvements.
Gaining visibility into energy usage across their estate can help food and beverage companies boost operational efficiency, reduce costs and consumption, and ensure the performance of their assets on the path to wider profit margins – and that is were actionable energy intelligence collected by smart sensor technology can help.
With an energy management strategy that utilises real-time energy data to identify energy inefficiencies and wastage, food and beverage companies can significantly reduce their energy consumption – yielding substantial cost reductions.
However, a major problem for many food and beverage companies is a lack of visibility into how energy is actually being used throughout their estate, preventing them from identifying current inefficiencies. This is where energy insights tools can be invaluable. Advanced sensor and analytics solutions pinpoint exactly how energy is being used, right down to the device level – identifying key areas to address to improve operational efficiency.
With our unobtrusive, self-powered Panoramic Power wireless sensors, food and beverage companies don’t need to disrupt operations in order to deploy the sensors. Being able to monitor power-consuming, critical assets throughout an energy estate entails a simple installation process – at the circuit breaker, the sensors easily snap onto the outgoing electrical wire that powers each device.
Aside from eliminating the costs of excessive energy consumption, an operation that pays close attention to its energy signature is in a better position to optimise equipment performance and diminish failure rates. Proactively identifying equipment that isn’t performing not only reduces operational downtime but properly enables companies to make more informed procurement decisions – and they can measure the ROI of asset purchases by measuring energy input after installation.
The constant quest to decrease costs and increase tight margins – whilst serving a growing population and meeting increasing demands from consumers and regulators – is weighing on the food and beverage industry, and never before has there been such a large piece of the puzzle so readily available to help companies meet these challenges. The technology to cut energy costs, reduce energy consumption, boost operational performance, and extend equipment longevity exists. It’s just a question of whether or not you choose to leverage it – and transform your challenges into opportunities.