In this new content series, Food & Drink Business takes a closer look at the opportunities inherent in the fast-evolving food processing industry, with insights from leaders at companies which have signed up to exhibit at APPEX 24.
This month we speak to Tania Carey from Food Processing Equipment.
The Australian manufacturing sector is at a critical juncture as it seeks to grow onshore capacity and capability while remaining globally competitive. With reference to your business, what do you see as a) the key challenges and b) the main growth opportunities inherent to this dynamic sector?
The biggest CHALLENGE is labour, we are all seeing it in our business’ – as a supplier we are finding it hard to recruit for technical/service type personnel, and our customers are having the same challenges with production staff.
The meat industry makes up for approximately 70% of our sales so with beef supply on the up and up in 2023 this side of our business, and the equipment we have at hand to support it is where we see our main growth opportunities.
What role has automation played in growing your business and advancing your customers production performance?
We are seeing a demand for labour saving solutions to our existing range of products, whether it be as simple as fast and easy cleaning options to more sophisticated product handling solutions. We expect this trend to continue and accelerate as processors face continued labour shortages and look for alternatives.
What innovative technology/product/solution has your company brought to market recently that sets you apart from your competitors?
With the company Cabinplant (Denmark) we have developed what we call the Quantum Trim Batcher (QTB) which is a solution developed specifically for the Australian beef industry. It brings higher levels of automation, increased throughput and CL accuracy to every packed carton or combo of beef trim. This has been in development for over 15 years whilst we have been working in the space of in-line X-Ray CL measurement of carton beef product.
With recent labour shortages in the meat processing industry, the need for higher levels of automation and optimisation of value packed product has resulted in the development of this solution. And we installed our first full scale line a greenfield site in 2022.
Working with your customers, what key trends are you observing unfold in the Australasian food and beverage processing sector?
These last couple of years we have seen a surge in new Ready Meal businesses targeting healthier choices, weight loss and also for the fitness conscious interested in muscle growth and energy requirements. We are also seeing a push for alternate dietary needs i.e., Those suffering from allergies as well as vegetarian and vegan meal offerings as well as plant-based milks.
We represent brands BCH and DC Norris in the cooking space and we have been able to provide solutions for these markets. We are currently in the final stages of commissioning equipment in Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney, the uplift in this area of the food sector has been really exciting for us.
APPEX is a new, all-encompassing trade show for the processing and packaging industry. Your company has signed up as an exhibitor at the inaugural show in March 2024, what made it a compelling platform for your business?
It finally felt like the industry was coming together as one, linking arms and showing up as a collective. We may all be competitors, but we collaborate on projects as well. We believe in win/win, we must win, and our customer must win – this is how we all do good business. That is also what APPEX feels like.