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The Top 5 Food and Beverage Manufacturing Trends for 2024

In a decade defined so far by disruption and rapid change, the 2024 new year brings incredible opportunities for the food and beverage manufacturing industry — if companies are prepared to take advantage of them. What’s in store for the industry in 2024? And what do stakeholders need to prepare for in the changing market landscape? Here are five food and beverage manufacturing trends to keep in mind as you plan the coming year:

1. Greater focus on sustainability

In their Food and Beverage 2024 Trends and Outlook for North America report, market research found that 84% of surveyed food processors, manufacturers, and distributors considered sustainability as one of their top priorities for the year. Interestingly, sustainability wasn’t just a corporate social responsibility strategy but a method for improving operational efficiency, reducing waste, and controlling costs. This marks a significant shift in the way industry leaders understand and prioritize sustainability.

Meeting these sustainability goals will require a deeper commitment to supply chain transparency and ingredient tracking to verify ethical and eco-friendly sourcing. Not only will it be important to track ingredients from farm to table, but record all of this information in an easy-to-update and access central database.

2. Deepening digital transformation and tech integration

According to a recent market study for 2024 trends and outlooks, 90% of the surveyed companies are currently in the process of adopting and integrating additional technology into their operational processes. Companies already underway in their digital transformation and automation journey have enjoyed 1.3% higher revenue growth than those that continue to rely on manual processes.

Product lifecycle management (PLM) and product data management (PDM) software are critical solutions to implement and center in your business in the coming year to manage the vast amounts of information and communication required to compete in the market. This software can assist in managing the intricacies of enhancing sustainability and navigating nearly every other food and beverage manufacturing trend mentioned in this article.

3. Rapidly evolving consumer preferences

With the rise of social media and demand for shareable experiences, consumers now anticipate a continually expanding array of food and beverage options, ranging from nostalgic seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice in the fall to short-run and limited-edition products that tie in with pop culture. Additionally, the expectation for instant availability provides companies that are first to market with a significant competitive advantage. This event-like approach to food and beverage manufacturing can generate significant revenue throughout the year, but adds a lot of complexity to production processes, recipe management, and product development cycles.

Production environments with a lot of product variation have a high risk of errors from following the wrong recipes, wasting an incredible amount of time, money, and resources if the mistake isn’t caught before a run. Food and beverage manufacturers need a PDM system that enables users to easily manage and communicate all product variations, even tracking when companies have created specific recipes in the past to avoid wasted development time.

4. More products with alternative ingredients

In addition to seasonal offerings, many consumers are seeking out products with alternative ingredients, such as plant-based proteins and non-dairy milks. This adds additional complexity to recipe management, as different ingredients can change what goes into a recipe and the concentration of emulsifiers, baking times, and other variables.

Food and beverage manufacturers need a PLM and PDM system that can manage different product formulations and easily share them with different stakeholders throughout the organization. The ideal platform can even track ingredient costs to help engineers ensure that each product is produced profitably.

5. Enhanced food safety measures

Industry experts report that the average food and beverage product recall costs manufacturers over $10 million. Bearing such high costs could completely destabilize a company in today’s volatile market. In 2024, food and beverage manufacturing operations need to implement more diligent food safety measures to prevent issues like undeclared allergens or contamination in the production environment.

Mistakes on the production floor aside, PDM and PLM software can help standardize business processes and reduce errors, so there’s less chance of creating food safety issues downstream. What’s more, when product developers update a recipe based on new food safety regulations, the change will automatically be visible for the entire company, preventing production from working off outdated instructions. Not only do these solutions help operations run more efficiently, they can prevent mistakes that balloon into catastrophic costs.

Tackling food and beverage manufacturing trends with SpecPage from Revalize

Digital transformation is key for food and beverage manufacturers to capitalize on each of these trends, but standard PLM and PDMs won’t be able to meet all of their complex needs. Manufacturers require a solution specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the industry. That’s where SpecPage comes in.

SpecPage is a central database and management system for all aspects of product development, labeling, and compliance processes, capable of maintaining detailed product specifications, ingredient and recipe data, and regulatory requirements. Many customers have raised their production run accuracy from 50% to 90% just by switching to SpecPage.

Want to experience the platform yourself? Schedule a demo today.

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