What are the major trends in petfood processing and where is the industry heading in 2022? What can we expect to see in products and packaging, and what factors are driving these changes?
Joost Lotgerink Bruinenberg, Sales Manager at JBT FTNON – a major equipment solutions supplier to the petfood industry – here examines some of the key trends that have emerged over the past 12 months and details how these are likely to develop in the next 12.
Petfood, and in particular wet petfood, is an industry that is experiencing rapid growth worldwide at both a local and an international level. But at the same time, there are some significant trends that are likely to shape the future of the industry moving forward.
One such trend is in plant-based meat replacement products. A tendency in human foods as much as petfood, plant-based has emerged as a major business opportunity over the past 12 months, driven both by consumer concerns about the environment as well as the increasing expense of conventional meat. This has led to companies such as JBT increasingly offering plant-based processing solutions for the petfood industry.
At the same time – and again driven by environmental concerns – there is a move away from plastics towards alternative, sustainable packaging options. Likewise, there is widespread movement towards reducing the carbon footprint across a petfood processing line; and JBT FTNON is working closely in partnership with our customers to help achieve their environmental goals. Away from the environment, there has also been a significant trend towards offering irregular chunks in petfood packaging. JBT FTNON is currently development a solution and we expect this to be ready to present to the market in Q1 or Q2 2022.
Of course, this is just one of the developments that JBT FTNON has been developing in order to further improve our petfood systems and meet the evolving demands of processors. Most significantly, JBT FTNON has been working on machine cleanability and ease of maintenance by engineering better access for maintenance and cleaning. These changes mean FTNON equipment is now even easier and more straightforward to clean.
This complements existing JBT FTNON petfood processing solutions, such as the two-color injector for our extrusion system, steam and cooling tunnels adapted to the needs of can and pouch filling alike, and our angular cutting unit which will soon be able to handle irregular chunks. FTNON also recently established an international Petfood Competence Network, which brings together expertise from across the petfood industry to encourage cooperation for the greater good of all companies involved.
And thanks to JBT, FTNON now has a local presence, globally. With petfood as an industry really moving forward and expanding, being able to offer immediate support is invaluable. JBT has vast experience then it comes to the life cycle management of the equipment and helping customers keep operations running with the highest yield. By using the global service network and Augmented Reality remote support (PRoSIGHT™), JBT’s customer care team is always near at hand when it matters.