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How Pigging Systems Improve Efficiency in Pet Food Manufacture

How Pigging Systems Improve Efficiency in Pet Food Manufacture
18/05/2018

The Future for the Pet Food Industry Looks Promising The future looks extremely promising for the pet food industry. In 2017, sales of pet food continued its healthy growth trajectory and rose by almost 6% reaching $26 billion according to Packaged Facts.

Much of the growth in the pet food industry is due to trends such as humanisation and premiumisation which continue to gain momentum. There’s also been an increase in online sales.

Trends Have Sparked Innovation We previously looked at some of the key pet food trends and how pigging can help in a previous blog article. Some of these key trends included ingredients such as blueberries, pumpkins and kale as well as popular human food trends such as ‘clean label’, ‘free from’ and ‘organic’ – all of which have percolated down from human foods to the pet food chain.

Pet food manufacturers have responded to these trends, and in the past 18 months there has been an explosion of product offerings that mirror many of the trends in human food. 2017 even saw the introduction of novelty pet products, such as beer and ice lollies for dogs.

Larger Pet Food Manufacturers Jumping on Bandwagon With the humanisation trend showing no sign of slowing down any time soon, even larger manufacturers sense an opportunity and have now jumped on the bandwagon.

In the upcoming year, even more human food trends are expected to migrate over to the pet food industry.

Although these trends provide an opportunity for pet food manufacturers to innovate, they also pose a serious challenge regarding efficiency. Especially for larger manufacturers and those who process many different formulations and configurations of pet food.

Challenge for Pet Food Manufacturers For pet food manufacturers who process a large variety of different products such as ‘grain free’, ‘sources of protein’ and ‘organic’, it’s inefficient to have a dedicated line for each of these products.

A more efficient option would be to keep the number of lines to a minimum and use each line for different products. And the greater the variety of products and formulations they produce, the more important this becomes.

But, why is efficiency so important? When it comes to pet food processing plants (or any plant that processes liquids), even a minor improvement in efficiency can reap big awards. After all, being more efficient means you can produce more for less – which translates into increased profits and a competitive advantage.

Problems of Using the Same Line? While using the same line for different formulations and configurations is desirable, it can also cause efficiency problems. Product changeovers are time-intensive and require investment in company resources and labour.

That’s because, each time you change from one product to another, there will be residual product from prior production remaining in the line. This needs to be removed to avoid cross-contamination issues. For pet food manufacturers that process multiple products, implementing an effective product changeover process is essential. And the more changeovers there are, the more downtime there will be, which means time not producing the product. So it’s important to ensure that changeovers are as fast as possible.

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