When I walk the floors of industry tradeshows (most of the time wishing that running shoes were an acceptable footwear pairing with business suits) I try to absorb what seems to be an endless amount of information about new products, technologies and company initiatives. And at the end of the day, it is about more than just mass producing products or equipment. The companies that really stand out on the show floor - and in the industry - are doing two things. One: solving a problem no one else has figured out how to solve; and two: helping customers become more efficient.
Without a focus on efficiency, the industry would eventually use up all its available resources and fail to sustain itself. The less waste, the more yield – which makes sense both economically and ecologically. Why not save the planet AND your pennies? Initiatives by the Federal Energy Management Program and the EPA as well as federal and state incentive programs support the food industry’s push for efficiency. The truly impressive displays at the shows are the ones that significantly reduce excess – equipment that cuts back on product packaging, energy consumption, water usage - and actually lessens food processing’s impact on the environment.
And of course, without innovation, the industry would cease moving forward. The product that is going be remembered long after the tradeshow is packed up and gone is the one that solves the problem that keeps Chuck the Chicken Farmer up at night. In addition, the companies worth noting are the ones that meet the customer not only with an innovative product but with quality of service, responsiveness, and solutions geared specifically to that customer and his issues. When a company truly examines the industry, listens to the problems of its customers and responds with a truly novel, well-packaged idea, it not only means success for the company but advancement for the industry as a whole.
So as you unpack your bags and sort through your newly acquired business cards, piles of paperwork, and assorted foam animal souvenirs, keep an eye out for efficiency and innovation. And to that end, please use Food Manufacturing as a resource for spreading the word. If you have something truly unique, email us and tell us about it and we will get the word out. And if anyone comes across comfortable tradeshow-appropriate shoes, please let me know.
To share your comments about this article, please send an e-mail to Karen Langhauser, Editor-in-Chief, at [email protected].