The pressure from the world of retail for bakers to go green and reduce environmental impact has never been tougher and is a “cultural change” for industry, the president of BEMA says.
In turn, this means that bakery equipment suppliers have to act faster and get it right the first time when designing energy efficient lines, said Kerwin Brown, president and CEO of the Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds Association (BEMA).
"You’ve got to look at the drivers – bakers are selling to a large chain like Walmart and Walmart is demanding [energy efficiency] – it’s a cultural change," Brown told BakeryandSnacks.com.
Bakers are busier than ever and the pressure on suppliers is bigger than ever, he said.
Bakers are talking about flexibility and efficiency to work with the ever-changing customer demands, he said, and they also want lines that are easier to use. The challenge is that all of these demands need to be met within tighter deadlines, Kerwin said.
“Suppliers have to do it fast and get it right the first time. Some of it is a challenge because that system has to be integrated and that doesn’t exist until it’s in the plant. In most cases, you have to add a line while another is still running.”
But bakery equipment suppliers have managed to work quicker, he said, as many demonstrated when Hostess exited the market last year.
“With the taking out of a $2bn player, people had to be more efficient and lead new lines quickly – we saw a lot of our equipment guys having to build lines faster because bakers needed the capacity,” he said.
Energy: The perpetual saving…
Costs are escalating in every area for bakers so it’s crucial for them to find more ways to be efficient, Brown said.
“Energy is a perpetual saving. It’s beginning to be more and more of a priority,” he said.
Over the past three years or so, the baking sector has seen an uptick in energy efficiency investments, he added, with variable speed motors, heat recovery and lighting the main focus.
“Bakers are certainly looking for heat recovery systems, LED lighting, better insulation, better water use, waste management, more efficient motors, for example. But over the last three years people are building these into their new plants more and adding on new lines,” he said.
Europe versus US
Globally, it’s interesting to note the different in return on investment or ‘payback’ expectations, Brown said.
“Europe has a little more patience in their payback expectations compared to the US,” he explained.
He said that culturally the US has been used to everything being unlimited, which is different in Europe – prompting a different attitude to investments in energy efficient technology and equipment.
“The driver with energy efficiency is almost always cost. A lot of technologies are available, but maybe bakers are not taking advantage because of costs,” he said.
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