Having recently returned from Anuga in Cologne, one of the world’s biggest food and drink trade fairs, Head of Process Ed Keenan reports back with his key findings.
There’s no doubt that Anuga is one of the highlights in the industry calendar, attracting more than 7,400 exhibitors and as many as 165,000 visitors from across the globe.
Perhaps what stood out to me most was that the UK is a relatively late adopter of food processing technology, compared to Europe and other parts of the world. This is particularly true when it comes to ‘novel processing technologies’ – like Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) and even HPP (High Pressure Processing) – technologies which I was writing about 15 years ago!
It was reassuring to see that firms outside the UK at least are seeing commercial benefits from these technologies, with one supplier receiving a Silver International FoodTec Award 2018 for Innovation.
In contrast, home-grown companies appear to be lagging behind, even though the technology can bring enormous rewards, for example, in the reduction of acrylamide in food products such as crisps. Acrylamide is a known carcinogen in animals and is formed during a reaction between amino acids and sugars when cooked at high temperatures. With new EU legislation to reduce its presence in food now in force, processing technology like PEF may help manufacturers comply with the rules.
My time at Anuga also certainly confirmed that factory suitable robotic technology is advancing at a rapid rate, enabling businesses to increase processing speeds while reducing capital costs. Thanks to developments in gripper technology and sensors, robots are better able to handle fragile products and carry out more complex tasks. I believe this will prove crucial in the coming years when Brexit, and continued rises in the National Minimum Wage, could put pressure on the commercial viability of big workforce.
Finally, it was great to see the range of packing machinery suppliers displaying a whole host of non-plastic packaging materials that their machines can process. Even though the options for plastics removal were on display, the overriding consensus seems to focused on plastic reduction rather than complete removal, at least for the time being.
More details about Anuga 2019 can be found on the event website.
Integrated Food Projects have partnered with Kettleby Foods on a number of high-profile multi-million pound capital projects since 2003/4, helping the business to develop and grow. Throughout that time they have provided cost-effective and efficient solutions on development projects both at our existing ready meals production facility and also in creating a new satellite facility. The projects at our existing facility were managed without impact on our ability to service our own clients, and all projects have been delivered within budget, in a timely fashion and to the requisite standards of safety and quality. Their team work ethos and professional approach ensure successful projects and I would utilise Integrated Food Projects in the future without hesitation.
- Jarrod Thorndyke, Production Director
I have worked with Integrated Food Projects on many capital expenditure projects since 2004, the latest being the development of the new plot of land adjacent to our main site. They successfully employed a project delivery process to ensure the integration of a leased modular building solution with the development of the site infrastructure to improve logistics and Health and Safety. Their staff are always positive and enthusiastic and have fostered a team-work approach ensuring another successful project delivered. I look forward to working with them again in the near future.
- Engineering Manager, Major UK Ready Meals Manufacturer