The food industry is probably the largest and most all-encompassing in the world. And for good reason. All living things must eat to survive.
Food is an essential commodity. The industry that comprises the food process, from the source to the consumer’s stomach, is not only immense but also operates in a highly competitive environment.
The product process
The number of businesses dealing with food has always been large, but the level of competition has increased greatly. On the one hand, there is increased consumption, and on the other there is a free-market economy. In such an environment, every business large or small wants to maximize its turnover and its profits by increasing sales. To do so, they offer new and better products and services, etc. The market is very dynamic, and all the players in it want to outdo the others.
The food industry includes the growers in the fields; the factories that process the agricultural products; the stores that supply the food products to the consumers; and the restaurants, cafeterias and catering services that provide prepared meals. There are also the middle men who make the necessary connections between the source products, the food processing businesses and the consumers.
Competition in the food chain
Competition among the various areas is fierce. The food processing manufacturers are constantly developing new products that both look good and taste good. Rivalry is fierce among grocery stores and retail shops. And it is especially fierce among restaurants. Stores and restaurants offer a tantalizing array of tasty, well-packaged food. They want their wares to be the best on all counts to attract customers. And, once attracted, they want to keep their clients and excel in what they do.
In this very mechanized and technical era of ours, the level of excellence is dependent on the equipment that is used. Machines are used to harvest crops; refrigeration keeps perishable foods fresh; food processing equipment makes food look as attractive as possible; and cooking utensils are implemented to prepare food at restaurants, hotels and caterers. The suppliers of these forms of equipment are an integral part of the food industry.
Modernizing the industrial kitchen
Assaf Sharfstein, the proprietor and CEO of Sharfstein Food Technologies. a leading distributor of machinery and equipment for the professional kitchen, says, “Equipment and machinery play a very important role in any country’s food industry, from the source to the consumer. A company in the food industry can improve its bottom line by acquiring the most-up-to-date equipment suitable for its needs, thereby improving its standing in a highly competitive market. With the right equipment, manufacturers can improve the output per worker and increase profitability. For example, with the right refrigeration equipment, wholesalers and retailers can extend the lifespan of perishable foods. And with the proper equipment, restaurants, caterers, and large institutional kitchens can prepare better, tastier food faster.”
Food businesses in general should always use the best and most modern equipment to meet their needs. While this has always been of paramount importance for the success of such enterprises, it is even more critical in this era of automated and computerized equipment. To a great extent, these state-of-the-art devices will determine the “to be” or “not to be” of a business, as they will reduce manpower needs, reduce costs, and allow the companies to hold their own in the extremely competitive food market.
Manufacturers can make use of robots or CAMs (computer-aided manufacturing). Wholesalers can use computerized warehousing technology to streamline their logistical operations. And retailers can implement sophisticated refrigeration machinery to maximize refrigerated shelf space and prolong the freshness of perishable foods.