A growing hunger for frozen food, prepared meals and other convenience items is driving a surge in processing equipment sales.
A report by market intelligence outfit Frost & Sullivan (F&S) holds that sales of food and beverage processing equipment reached nearly $513 billion USD in 2012. Growth in the market will continue or at least the next six years, the study finds.
Among the driving factors: consumers in developing countries have increased access to processed food. Clamoring for prepared foods in growing nations in Africa and India is motivating processors to step up production, and add equipment to boost capacity.
Christopher Shanahan (Chemicals, Materials & Food Industry manager for F&S) said the introduction of advanced equipment, state-of-the-art support systems and new materials can help food processors and their packaging partners.
"Technological advancements will help in the expansion of the product line and increase margins," he said. "Manufacturers can also gain a competitive edge by providing environment-friendly and light-weight packaging materials."
Shanahan said manufacturers’ desire to stand out with unique packaging materials, configurations and shapes are helping fuel this growth. Increased safety concerns coming from consumers and government agencies also plays a part in moving processing firms to update their gear.
International trade is yet another factor impacting the market. Competition from Asia-based manufacturers offering cheaper product is causing processors to step up their game, looking for equipment and materials that help them cut cost without sacrificing quality.
“With increased demand for the export market for food, there will be a simultaneous increase in the demand for processing equipment and packaging materials,” Shanahan predicted.