Finding Food & Beverage Solutions & Growth, Amid a Pandemic
A year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about unforeseen struggles to the food & beverage manufacturing industry. Yet, projects moved forward—and a year later—there’s proof of resilience, agility, and growth.
Data from Food Engineering’s 44th Annual Plant Construction Survey reveals a considerable increase in plant construction across the food & beverage manufacturing sector. But, what’s causing this surge after starkly uncertain times a year ago?
Tyler Cundiff, president of the Food & Beverage Group at Gray, Inc., believes this activity is caused by three key ideas:
- Manufacturing enterprise consolidation
- Increased focus on food safety upgrades
- Dynamic and growing global consumer demands
“Much of the current new project activity is a result of a drastic disruption to the global food supply and delivery system due to COVID-19,” says Cundiff.
The survey found over 700 reportable food & beverage-related projects. This number is 17.7% higher than the 2019 data found.
But, new projects bring about tough decisions: build new or renovate? Jeff Jendryk, VP of Business Development at Spec Engineering, a Gray company, is seeing many processors looking to revamp their facilities. He believes this trend is in response to growing demand from customers. For many manufacturers, short lead times are—especially– at top of mind during these times.
“At Gray, we are seeing a combination of both greenfield and brownfield project development,” says Cundiff. “We recently partnered with Nestlé Purina PetCare as the fully integrated services provider on two simultaneous, large-scale projects. They decided on a new, greenfield for one facility in Ohio, and the other includes the retrofit of an existing brewery facility in North Carolina.
“Many factors contribute to the decision of greenfield or brownfield, but with this example, we see that objectives can be achieved with either option as long as the tradeoffs are understood very early in the planning process. Speed to market, design flexibility, and capital cost always seem to be at the forefront of discussions when considering brownfield vs. greenfield.”
To learn how companies across the Food & Beverage sector are adapting, read more of this story at Food Engineering.