State Of Conveying 2023 Report

Cablevey Blog

Research: The State of Conveying for the Food Processing Industry 2023

The Cablevey and Automated Handling Solutions teams are excited to publish the 2nd annual State of Conveying Research Study, the only research study exclusively covering conveying for food processing professionals. The 2023 report provides trend analysis and new findings regarding the food processing industry and how organizations convey food products in their facilities. Use the findings as you prepare for 2024 and beyond. The 2023 research study expands coverage to food industry professionals in Brazil and Mexico.

In modern food processing plants, conveying foods has evolved into a finely tuned process prioritizing efficiency, hygiene, and safety. As food processing continually embraces innovation, industry professionals are committed to making the best decisions for their specific conveying needs. To make those decisions, the industry needs data. The State of Conveying for the Food Industry 2023 builds on the data and findings from 2022 to provide you with new and updated data to make the best decisions moving forward.

In July 2023, Cablevey Conveyors commissioned the independent research firm Ascend2 to conduct the 2023 research study. The 21-page study (download for free) asked 327 food processing professionals in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, and Mexico to provide insight on the industry outlook and challenges, cleaning and maintenance of systems, the purchasing process, budgeting, and more. 

Here is a breakdown of the survey audience:
Research Participants
N = 327 Food processing professionals

Two Key Findings for 2023

  • Cleaning and maintenance are the number one top-reported challenge faced in the food-processing industry, according to 53% of those surveyed. 97% of those surveyed agree they would benefit from finding a more efficient way to clean their conveying systems. 67% strongly agree. This study takes a deep dive into this topic and provides actionable next steps for you to consider as you plan the next steps for your facility.
  • 61% of those surveyed have shopped for or purchased a new conveyor system in the last year, and 82% plan to update or replace parts of their conveying systems in the next two years. 98% of those surveyed agree that testing products (nuts, breakfast cereal, etc.) on a new system is critical before deciding on a new conveying system. We’ve devoted a section of this study to reviewing the purchase process that food professionals are taking to make the best decision for their organization.

Here are a few insightful charts from the research study:

Chart 1: Industry Growth Continues

The food processing industry is rapidly growing, with 63% having grown 10%+ in the past year (20% increased 20%+). This mirrors the growth from 2022 and indicates a long-term trend for the industry. As the industry grows, it is more critical than ever for decision-makers to ensure their operations are optimized to handle current and future growth.

Chart 2: Budgets Increase

Budgets for conveying equipment and maintenance are changing to meet industry growth demands. 81% of organizations plan to increase budgets in the next 12 months, continuing the trend from 2022.

How is your BUDGET for conveying equipment and maintenance changing in the next 12 months?

Chart 3: Top Challenges in the Industry

Supply chain issues (49%) continue to be the top challenge in the food processing industry, and shifts in consumer demand and preferences (46%) are a close second. Shifts in consumer demand and preferences experienced a significant jump from 2022, indicating the need for organizations to be agile with their ability to adjust production lines to meet demand.

What do you consider to be the TOP CHALLENGES facing the food and beverage processing industry?

Chart 4: Top Conveying Challenges

Cleaning and maintenance come in first at 53%, which isn’t even a close race, with energy consumption coming in second at 35%. Energy consumption and broken materials are also at the top of the list for over one-third of those surveyed.

What are the greatest CHALLENGES with conveying materials?

Chart 5: Maintenance Issues are Top-of-Mind

97% of those surveyed agree they would benefit from finding a more efficient way to clean their conveying systems. 67% strongly agree. 79% of those surveyed move more than one product through their system requiring cleaning.

Do you move multiple products (e.g., barbecue chips and sour cream chips) through one system that would require the system to be cleaned?

Chart 6: Maintenance Equals Time and Money

Over two-thirds (69%) of those surveyed clean their conveying systems 3 or more times per week. 38% clean their systems 4 or more times per week. For 31% of those surveyed, this process takes more than 2 hours; for another 60%, the process takes 1 – 2 hours.

How many times per week do you clean your conveying system?

On average, how long does it take on average to clean your conveying system?

Chart 7: Insights on the Evaluation Process

What are the most critical factors to consider when evaluating a new system? The most critical consideration when selecting a new conveying system is energy efficiency. Minimizing maintenance and a system that is easy to clean is also at the top of the list of most critical considerations when selecting a new conveying system.

What are the top REASONS for updating your conveying processes?

The 7 charts highlighted in this article are only a sample of what you will find in the 2023 research study. Download The 2023 State of Conveying for the Food Industry for more insight into the food processing industry.

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