Predictions for 2024 and beyond

Date: 09.01.2024Source: Lyras

According to Rasmus Mortensen, CVO of sustainable dairy technology manufacturer Lyras, over the next 12 months there will be a big change from the old traditional process to more advanced models while also seeing an uptick in sustainability initiatives and more emphasis on automation

2023 has seen many challenges for the dairy and drinks industry. With rising cost of living issues and mounting energy costs due to conflicts abroad, the squeeze on the UK market has been damaging for many businesses throughout last year. As we move into 2024 and beyond, it’s important for dairies and food processing lines to recognise shifts in the industry and be prepared to make changes to their operations to keep up with competition.

Prediction #1 – Continued adoption of sustainability strategies

2023 saw a rise in general sustainability strategies becoming more adopted across many industries. With distance from the pandemic, more business leaders are scrutinising their current operations to increase their operation efficiency without sacrificing quality, but with the rising energy squeeze across Europe, sustainability initiatives and energy-efficient technologies have been at the forefront of new proposals across many industries.

The dairy and drinks sectors are no different from this. Sustainable practices continue to be a top priority for producers across both industries. Individually, companies have their own sustainability goals, thus the choice to partner with more sustainable tech manufacturers have become less of a risk and more of a necessity. Common sustainable practices that can be expected to be renewable and rolled out industry-wide include reducing food waste and energy usage, which are clear focuses for many sustainable technology providers that processing companies choose to partner with.

Prediction #2 – Wider demand for automation and quality control

With the implementation of modern technologies into industry operations, the dairy and drinks sectors can also expect to see an increased demand for automation across all production lines. Businesses have already seen marked improvements from implementing higher technology strategies across single test lines, so deploying these across the rest of their operations is the natural next step.

Increased automation has proven results in improved quality control, increased food safety, and enhance traceability across supply chains. But equally important is how automation can help address growing labour shortages across operations. As production costs have skyrocketed, even leading to the outright closure of dairies and food processors. By employing the automation of up-to-date technologies with quality control, it gives processors a better standing against competitors as their operations can become even more efficient and cost-effective.

Prediction #3 – Upgrading decades-old traditional processes

For food and beverage producers, pasteurisation has been a staple of processing lines for over a hundred years. The process has not just been used for milk and dairy, but also when it comes to treating juices, sodas, beers and whey production. Yet despite this process being streamlined over the years with the influx of more efficient technologies, there is still a resistance to adoption, with the more conservative processors not interested in “fixing” something that isn’t broken.

As we move into the new year, adopting modern technologies is becoming more of a necessity industry-wide for processors looking to survive in an increasingly competitive landscape. Modern processes offer levels of quality control that their previous generation counterparts simply did not have access to in the past.

Prediction #4 – Saving more whilst tasting better

Retaining customers during challenging times is a problem for both retailers and producers alike. With the squeeze of inflation, implementing solutions that can save on waste costs can be appealing, but if the quality is sacrificed it can lead to a food product buyers will just end up avoiding anyway. Treatment and processing operations that cut waste costs without sacrificing quality is key.

Taste is key for this, and choosing a processing manufacturer whose technology doesn’t damage the taste of the product should be a priority for all looking to upgrade next year. A good tasting product is going to be the swing factor when it comes to where consumers will spend their money, so keeping high quality across all stages of processing is key to ensure that at the end of the day a cost-efficient product doesn’t go unwanted.  For more visit lyras.com

David Cox / IDM

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