State of the food processing industry in 2023

Aug. 3, 2023
New study from Cablevey Conveyors reveals that 67% of respondents expect to update or replace components of their conveying system, with the top purchasing criteria and ranked categories.

The food processing industry continues to experience significant growth. Budgets are trending upward for conveying equipment and maintenance in the year ahead with 82% of those surveyed reporting their budgets will be increasing in the next 12 months.

To handle that growth, organizations are evaluating existing conveyor systems, determining the need for new systems, and selecting the best system for their requirements. A newly released report provides an important overview of the State of the Food Processing Industry in 2023 as companies consider updating their conveyor systems.

An independent study called “New Research - Evaluating and Implementing New Conveyor Systems,” has been released by Cablevey Conveyors, a worldwide expert in cable and disc conveying solutions. Cablevey contracted with independent outside research firm Ascend2 to conduct the study, in which the researchers surveyed 290 professionals in the food processing industry to provide their insight on critical considerations when evaluating a system.

The conveying systems considered were aero mechanical conveyors, bucket elevators, cable conveyors, pneumatic conveyors, round-link chain conveyors, and screw augers. Respondents conveyed a wide range of product types such as coffee, cereals, nuts, snacks, and frozen foods.

According to the study, 67% of those surveyed plan to update or replace components of their conveying system. Of this group, 32% plan a conveyor update in the next year, and another 42% expect to do so within the next two years.

The challenge is that some materials are more difficult to transport using traditional conveyance methods. In food-processing facilities, it can be daunting to convey fragile, delicate materials and powdered or granular materials, many of which are needed in bulk volumes for various production operations.

The study illuminates critical elements that respondents considered, such as how to preserve product integrity, cut waste, avoid cross-contamination, conserve energy, simplify maintenance, and make efficient use of space.

Respondents evaluated and ranked all seven conveyor categories for product integrity, energy and efficiency, maintenance and downtime, and facility requirements.

In the rating, cable conveyors ranked top overall for the second year in a row. The food processing professionals rated cable conveyors highest based on their hands-on experience with the technology’s ability to move materials gently, cleanly, and reliably through production facilities. Cable conveyors can deliver wet, dry, hot, or cold materials from room to room, floor to floor, and even building to building effectively and efficiently.

Compared to other types of systems, cable conveyor systems such as those by Cablevey Conveyors provide numerous advantages. This includes offering a sealed handling environment, reduced product breakage and loss, low energy consumption, easy maintenance, customizable configuration, and broad market compatibility.

With 50 years of experience, Cablevey Conveyors has served industrial processors in 66 countries, moved over 1,000 products, and commissioned over 32,000 conveyors.

Cable conveyors edged out pneumatic conveyors, which ranked second in all categories. The primary concern is that delicate products can be damaged by high velocity, air-powered systems in bends and sweeps where the material can be forced through constricted areas or quickly change direction. Pneumatic conveyors also require substantial energy to operate.

Cable conveyors ranked significantly higher than chain conveyors in energy use and efficiency. Nearly half (49%) of all food processing employees surveyed indicated that cable conveyors are a highly energy-efficient type of conveyor system compared to 31% of those who listed round-link chain conveyors as an energy-efficient system.

For a detailed copy of the survey results, visit

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