Operating to specification key influence in purchasing decisions

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

The number one influence on whether to buy food processing
equipment was whether it lived up to its specifications rather than
whether it was too costly, according to a survey by amanufacturing

About 92 per cent of the survey's respondents believed that "fulfillment ofspecification" was the most important quality they expected from a particular machine. About 75per cent of the respondents also cited "parts availability" and 63 per cent cited "installation support"as important factors.

The survey of about 40 processors was conducted by Dechert-Hampe & Co. on behalf of Lyco Manufacturing. The study also brings together analysis done by other companies. It gives insight into what managers think are the underlying trends influencing anequipment purchase.

"Food processing equipment manufacturers must come to market prepared to meet specifications and provide the parts andinstallation services required by their customers,"​ said Lyco in releasing the study. "Possibly more important thanthese factors are the specific purchase criteria that food processors use to select their equipment."

While the such factors had more to do with the equipment company, the criteria are aimed at the actual equipment and its performance. Eleven separate criteria were provided to the survey participants. Some overlapped with the "factors" while others were independent.

Meeting specifications again led the field as respondents listed their key criteria for equipment selection. Quality, in this case machinequality, was the second leading criteria among the respondents.

Processing cost factors make up three of the next four key criteria, with yield, throughput, and operatingcosts rating high. Equipment price was a top criteria with only 28 per cent of the respondents.

"Service and support" was not listed as one of the key criteria for equipment selection in spite of respondents ranking parts and installation services as being the second and third most importantfactors in making a purchase decision.

The apparent discrepancy has to do with the quality criteria of the purchase selection, Lycosstated.

"That is, food processors expect the company to supply quality equipment that is dependable but also to have the partsrequired for scheduled maintenance and know-how to get their equipment up and running after initialpurchase,"​ the company stated.

In the survey Lycos also linked primary research on the trends and purchase behavior of food processorswith market trends. Plant managers, for example, are forecasting they will need equipment in the processed food in traysand the prepared rice categories, which they project will grow by about 6 per cent over the next twoyears.

Processing food in pouches is also a high growth segment named by nearly 20 per cent of the survey respondents,who specifically cited rising demand for hot filled soups and sauces. In addition, about 50 per cent of the respondentsprojected that prepared rice, food in trays, and value added chicken will grow by over

The survey on trends in food processing and equipment found that 25 per cent of companies usingatmospheric water or steam equipment at multiple locations were was in the pouch segment in pouch .Pouch processing operations were tied with basic cook and cool operations as the predominate use ofatmospheric water or steam equipment.

"It is important for equipment manufacturers in the foodprocessing industry to fully understand the market motivators of theircustomers,"​ the report stated. "Innovation in foodprocessing equipment is fundamental to the food manufacturer'sability to control costs, improve food quality, and meet the changingfood tastes of theconsumer."

The report estimates that the food pouch market itself will grow at5-6 per cent per year for the next sixyears, a rate about double the projected growth rate of total food shipments over the same time period.

The survey found that the companies had an average of 6.3manufacturing lines per plant. About 77per cent of the responding companies reported using continuous wateror steam cooking in their plants.

One dozen process food categories were surveyed for anticipated growth over the next two years.With the exception of canned vegetables, the survey respondents see growth in each of thecategories.

Respondents projected that average annual growth for the food industry would be about 1.7 percent. However, six product categories had projected growth rates at between 50 per cent and 80 percent greater than the average.

Respondents projected growth rates of the processed food categories surveyed varied significantly across the 40 companies responding.About 20 per cent of the respondents believe that the processed food in trays and the prepared rice categories will grow byabout 6 per cent over the next two years.

Processing food in pouches is also a high growth segment named by nearly 20% of the survey respondents,who specifically cited rising demand for hot filled soups and sauces. In addition, about 50 per centof the respondents projected that prepared rice, food in trays, and value added chicken will grow by overthree per cent over the next two years.

pasta, frozen plain vegetables, rice, frozen meat, refrigerated meat/poultry, canned meat, frozenappetizers, frozen pasta, frozen side dishes, frozen prepared vegetables, refrigerated pasta.

Historically refrigerated meat and poultry has demonstrated s ignificant and sustained growth over the last four years. The frozen prepared vegetable category has also sustained significant growth.

The shrinking market size categories included frozen side dishes (-8.1 per cent) , refrigerated pasta(-5.3 per cent ) and frozen pasta (-4.4 per cent). The rice category overall is down by 1.1 percent.

The survey was completed in September of 2005 and targeted seniormanufacturing operations management in foodprocessing plants. Respondents from 40 companies participated in the study.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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