Kate Achelpohl

by Kate Achelpohl

Food and beverage manufacturers can breathe a sigh of relief. The United States is in the early stages of a mild economic recovery, and with it, activity has increased in the food and beverage sectors.

Recently, PMMI released the findings of its second 2010 Quarterly Economic Outlook, forecasting the growth of various industries, including food and beverage manufacturing. According to the study, the rates of annual food production and personal food consumption have seen conservative increases compared to where they stood in the second quarter of 2009.

The rate of food production is expected to rise throughout the calendar year, returning to a pattern of mild and consistent annual growth over the next three years. Annual 2% to 3% rises in production over the next two years will help meet the demand created by increasing personal food consumption.

Things are also looking up for the beverage sector. Manufacturers of coffees, teas and other drinks will also see higher industry growth rates. The recession impacted the pace of growth over the past year-annual production rates are still 3.1% lower than they were one year ago-but these rates are forecast to rise, approaching pre-recession levels by the fourth quarter of 2010. Even more robust growth of about 5.8% is predicted in 2011, followed by steady, milder growth in 2012.

The predicted expansion of the food and beverage manufacturing sectors indicates that consumer packaged goods and private label brands should be equipping themselves to meet higher product demand. Investments to increase production capacity, speed and automation of processing and packaging lines in the short term will help ensure efficient delivery of the product to market in the long term, as demand steadily increases over the next few years.

Several new features at this fall’s Pack Expo International 2010 (Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at Chicago’s McCormick Place) will make it easier for brand owners to discover the technology they need to achieve these goals.

Pack Expo’s expanded focus to include processing solutions will give attendees the opportunity to approach the show with a total systems approach that is supported by exhibitors. Processing solutions will be available on all show floors, and The Processing Zone, a pavilion dedicated to processing technologies for a wide range of market segments, will further support attendees’ needs.

The Brand Zone (formerly the Containers & Materials Pavilion) also makes its Chicago debut this year. The exhibit area will feature exhibitors and displays of innovative containers and materials brand managers can use to make products stand out on the shelf, to enhance convenience and functionality, and better satisfy sustainability-related requirements.

Register for Pack Expo International 2010 online at www.packexpo.com. Registrations received by May 28, 2010, will be entered in a drawing to win one of three Pack Expo hotel stays. F&BP

Kate Achelpohl is director, member communications for PMMI. She can be reached at 703-243-8555 or kachelpohl@pmmi.org.