Another year has passed and 2023 has arrived on our calendars. Though the world has continued to recover from the effects of COVID-19 other challenges have appeared. With the cost of living rising across the world and climate change not slowing down, 2022 was financially challenging for nearly everyone, and 2023 is only set to get harder as the world plummets into recession.
So how will the challenges of 2023 affect companies that process liquids?
Raw Materials Will Become Harder to Source
Companies that work in sectors such as food, beverages, paints, confectionery, pet food and more will be aware that sourcing raw ingredients and materials has become more difficult and more expensive.
Climate change and other factors are affecting agricultural output, with crops failing or being destroyed because of natural disasters. Companies who are keen on using only natural ingredients are also placing pressure on the agricultural industry.
For example, Manitoba, Canada, suffered from heavy snowfalls and rains in April and May 2022, causing water-logged ground that prevented the planting of spring wheat and canola. With canola oil being a key ingredient in food products like salad dressings, shortenings and margarines, cooking sprays, coffee creamers and whiteners, and breads, a shortage of canola oil is contributing to the rising prices of food.
And adverse weather is affecting more than just canola production: vanilla, almonds, and wheat are just a few key food ingredients suffering from heavy rains and droughts.
With raw materials becoming more valuable as they decrease in availability, it’s essential to minimise the waste of all ingredients and materials purchased. One of the most efficient ways of achieving this is by recovering the product during processing using pigging is a great way for decreasing waste and producing more sellable product.
A Recession of Developed Nations
The shortages of raw materials combined with the aftermath of COVID-19 are causing inflation rates to rise. The IMF predict that a third of the world’s economy will be in recession by late-2023, with the USA, Europe, and China all suffering.
As the recession draws closer companies are looking for ways to decrease their financial outgoings to save money. Money-saving measures might include generating some, if not all, of their own power, labour cuts, and remote- or hybrid-working arrangements.
A popular measure for decreasing financial outgoings in the liquid processing industry is liquid product recovery, or ‘pigging’. An HPS pigging system has a high ROI, with full payback typically occurring within 12 months, making it a great way to save product, reduce waste, labour, energy, and other costs.
A common reaction to the rising costs of raw materials isn’t to raise the price of the product but to reduce the size.
Shrinkflation is a subtle tactic used by companies to avoid having to hike prices and risk losing customers. Instead, by decreasing the size of the product by a few percent they can retain their customer base without losing profit.
In March 2022, a popular chocolate manufacturer decreased the size of their sharing bars from 200g to 180g. The reason? The rising cost of raw materials.
Many consumers will have noticed that chocolate bars are gradually shrinking in size as chocolate manufacturers seek to offset the rising costs of ingredients like cocoa and vanilla. Other products affected include toilet paper, drinks, and pet food.
Whilst pigging won’t stop the recession and allow companies to reverse their shrinkflation measures, it will allow for manufacturers to create more product through increased yields and capacity, and less waste.
Most consumers are now having to live by tighter budgets as the cost-of-living increases. They have to be more aware of what they’re spending and how they’re spending, and they have less money to spend on non-necessary products. So, when they are buying products, they’re going to be more conscious of where their money is going.
Mintel have published a report on how the 2023 recession will impact US consumer spending and “intentional spending” is a predicted trend. They define intentional spending as the weight of “price against convenience, sustainability, ethics, and other hard to define or intangible measures”.
Simply put, rather than buying something just because it is cheap, consumers are considering how their purchases will affect them in the immediate future and the distant future, as well as the impact on budgets.
With consumers cutting down on how much they are buying, it’s important that manufacturers consider how best to make the most of all the product that they produce.
Recovering as much product possible during the manufacturing process (up to 99.5% of product can be recovered from full transfer pipelines with an HPS pigging system!) will be key to manufacturers getting as much bang for their buck as they can.
With climate change directly impacting the scarcity of many raw materials it’s important that manufacturers do what they can to help combat climate change. Sustainability has also become a huge part of the consumer journey.
Sustainability became a trend in the late 1980s and has only grown in prominence since. Governments and leading organisations offer incentives and accreditations to companies that act towards increasing their environmental friendliness, and consumers look for accreditation symbols on the products that they consider buying.
Though a large part of sustainable practice has been focused on packaging, it’s also important for manufacturers to consider how their process impacts the environment. Process industries that have yet to begin pigging may still use large quantities of water and chemicals for cleaning procedures, carbon emissions can be significant, and there are environmental downfalls to waste treatment and disposal.
When a company begins pigging their environmental ratings nearly always go up: water and chemical usage in cleaning procedures decreases as manufacturers can accurately measure the amount of water and chemicals required for cleaning; carbon emissions decrease (see our Carbon-Zero report for more information); and there’s less effluent to be transported, treated, and disposed of.
Find Out More
If you would like to improve your efficiency, profitability, and sustainability through pigging and liquid product recovery solutions then please contact the process system experts. Our friendly and knowledgeable pigging experts will be more than happy to discuss your project in further detail.
If you would like more information on pigging, including guides and FAQs, then please visit HPS Pigging System Resources.