According to MarketLine’s latest report on the global frozen foods market, this segment has grown nearly 19 percent since 2010. This growth presents many opportunities for manufacturers to increase sales and market share. However, industry players still face several challenges, including increasing competition, rigorous food safety regulations and diverse demands from consumers. To meet these challenges, cold foods manufacturers are employing innovative technology that ensures compliance, while enhancing efficiency.
To gain a better understanding of the solutions cold food manufacturers are looking at, Food Engineering spoke with Jorge Izquierdo, vice president, market development, PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, the owner and producer of PACK EXPO International 2014 (McCormick Place, Chicago; Nov. 2–5).
FE: What do you believe contributes to the current and projected growth of the global frozen food industry?
Izquierdo: By 2015, the global frozen food industry is expected to reach $228 billion in sales. This projected growth can be mostly attributed to an increasingly fast-paced society. Modern consumers have less time to prepare meals, yet still demand nutritious options. Frozen and prepared cold foods can meet these needs, with many options that require little to no preparation time.
FE: Can this increasing variety of options complicate compliance with food safety regulations?
Izquierdo: The short answer is “yes.” Frozen and prepared foods manufacturers are no strangers to extended and complex supply chains because their offerings often require a wide range of ingredients. One of the pending provisions of the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mandates a plan outlining proactive measures to anticipate and prevent any food safety issues. This will require robust reporting and tracking of ingredients, as well as finished products. Consequently, frozen and cold prepared foods suppliers must keep closer tabs on ingredients suppliers than ever before and establish clear reporting protocols that can be followed in the event of a contamination incident.
Compared to shelf-stable food manufacturers, cold and frozen foods manufacturers have the added challenge of maintaining strict temperature controls throughout manufacturing and transportation along the supply chain. These challenges must also be addressed in plans for compliance with FSMA provisions.
FE: What other steps are cold foods manufacturers taking to enhance food safety and stay ahead of the competition?
Izquierdo: Automated technologies are generating quite a bit of interest among manufacturers seeking to enhance operations and meet increasing product demand. Automation helps manufacturers reduce line errors, increase production efficiency and make operations safer. From a food safety perspective, robotic solutions highly reduce the risk of contamination by decreasing or eliminating direct human contact with food products throughout the supply chain.
As cold food manufacturers look for new solutions that can improve operations, PACK EXPO International 2014 (November 2-5; McCormick Place, Chicago, IL) will serve as the largest resource in North America to discover innovation and see the technology that is transforming the packaging and processing of foods.
For more information or to register, visit packexpointernational.com. Registration is $30 through October 3, 2014 and $60 thereafter.