Advanced Manufacturing Emphasized at Powder Show Digital Flow | COVID-19 Shifts Consumer Trends

Take Five Video: International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference is making an in-person return, but live virtual content remains. Also, Tetra Pak’s research suggests consumers are still expecting manufacturers to meet environmental demands despite COVID-19.


Quick hits:

      • The Powder Show returns to its in-person format Aug. 27-29 in Rosemont, Ill.
      • The Reshoring Institute’s Rosemary Coates explains how essential advanced technologies like robotics, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence will be to bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.
      • Spec Engineering executives make a case for Industry 5.0 in the food and beverage industry, highlighting advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.
      • The pandemic has pushed the environment to second place in consumer priorities.
      • Consumers demand greater transparency, which companies can provide through product packaging and touch-free connected packaging.
      • Companies can reduce food waste through aseptic processing and packaging, incorporation of intelligent expiry labels, and the farm to fork strategy.

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         Read the transcript below:

      Aaron Hand: Welcome to today’s Take Five. I’m Aaron Hand, executive editor for ProFood World. I thought I’d take the opportunity today to talk about the latest content coming out of what is—in non-pandemic years—the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference & Exhibition, also known as the Powder Show.

      COVID-19 changed the way we work in so many ways, and as more of us get fully vaccinated, it’s been good to make some human contact again. A lot of people are excited about getting back to in-person trade shows. After going virtual with much of its content over the past year, the Powder Show plans to return to a live event August 24-26 in Rosemont, Illinois, just outside Chicago. That’s on my home court, so I’ll certainly plan to get over to the convention center.

      I did want to talk a bit about the digital content that’s been presented in the meantime, including the Powder Show Digital Flow a full-day conference held back in February. The keynote was from Rosemary Coates, executive director of the Reshoring Institute, about building advanced manufacturing in the US. She gave a great history of the buildup of offshoring manufacturing to China in the early 2000s, and also the onset of reshoring beginning in 2012, which has really taken off with the pandemic.

      One of the things Coates emphasizes is how important advanced technologies are if we’re going to bring manufacturing back. The blue collar jobs of the past have become new collar jobs, she says, and will likely include robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence.

      These are exactly the technologies discussed in another session from the Powder Show Digital Flow called “Industry 5.0 for Food and Beverage Processing.” It comes from process engineering company Spec Engineering. Ben Knowles, vice president of technology, and Edel Rodriguez, vice president of sales, detail how the food and beverage industry is using technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and advanced HMIs to not only adapt during COVID-19 but also to move forward and become more agile, safe and profitable.

      I was most intrigued by the discussion from Knowles and Rodriguez about blockchain and how vital it could be to the track and trace process that has become so important to the food and beverage industry.

      This content was from February, but it’s still available online, so I highly recommend checking it out. I’ll include the link down below for you.

      Although Informa Markets decided to change its iPBS Digital Conference to the in-person August event instead, the virtual component of the Powder Show has not completely gone away. Powder Show Connect is featuring content and expert roundtables throughout the year so that industry members can continue to engage leading up to the August event. This launched last month, kicking off with a keynote from well-known economist Robert Fry, the former chief economist for Dupont.

      Look for links for lots of this content online, as well as information for the upcoming show. And I hope to see you all at Pack Expo Las Vegas, which is also back to an in-person event in September.

      Melissa Griffen: Hello, I’m Melissa Griffen, Contributing Editor at ProFood World Magazine, and today in our Take 5 video I’m talking about the shift in consumer trends amidst the pandemic.

      The Tetra Pak 2020 Index global research study showed that COVID-19 unsurprisingly became consumers’ number one priority, pushing the environment to second place, while health was pushed even further down the list. Both of these were consumers’ top priorities in Tetra Pak’s 2019 Index. Additionally, financial concerns and food safety rose on the consumer radar as budgets became tighter, and grocery store shelves emptied.

      A survey–spanning the U.S., UK, Mexico, and Singapore–from food company Palsgaard confirmed these shifting consumer priorities. Yet, both surveys also show that while environmental concerns may have become second place to the pandemic, they are still a major concern. Consumers’ expectations for food companies to take responsibility in creating a sustainable supply chain have also increased.

      However, in PMMI’s recent Vision 2025 survey–comprised of 70% food and beverage companies–sustainability did not make the cut onto CPG and OEM top 2 priorities list. Food and beverage companies are still attempting to regain their feet while juggling the various needs their facilities, workforce, and products demand, as well as consumer expectations. They must manage efficiency-throughput-productivity, efforts in automation, worker health and safety, and costs ensuing from the pandemic among other demands.

      To help companies meet these expectations, Tetra Pak’s 2020 Index goes even further to break down consumer demands which include greater transparency on sustainability efforts. This requires gaining consumer trust which Tetra Pak explains can grow through efficient use of product packaging and touch-free connected packaging.

      Another consumer demand is to reduce food waste on the industry level. Solutions proposed by Tetra Pak include aseptic processing and packaging to increase shelf life, incorporation of intelligent expiry labels, and using the farm to fork strategy among others.

      Thanks, and see you next time on Take 5 with ProFood World.