Sustainability is Important to UK Consumers
Companies that manufacture food or beverages can’t afford to overlook addressing environmental sustainability.
According to a recent study, one in five UK consumers (21%) have knowingly stopped purchasing a particular brand or product due to concerns over its environmental impact. What’s more, those concerns are further heightened when it comes to the weekly grocery shop.
Another takeaway from the study shows that more than a third (36%) of consumers stop purchasing from a food and beverage brand due to lack of eco-credentials. Likewise, 62% of consumers said they thought a brand’s sustainability credentials were important when buying food and beverages.
In addition, despite the economic hardships caused by COVID-19, consumers are willing to spend more on sustainable and eco-friendly products.
What Does This Mean for Food and Beverage Companies?
With sustainability becoming an even bigger consideration for consumers, there’s a sound and ethical business case for food and beverage companies to ensure their manufacturing process and products are as eco-friendly as possible.
Manufacturers that operate sustainability are more likely to meet the needs and demands of consumers and society.
In addition, sustainability can boost a company’s reputation and secure future earnings through loyalty and advocacy.
The Financial Benefits of Sustainability for Food and Beverage Brands
As well as the feel-good reputation boost, sustainable food and beverage manufacture is not all about satisfied consumers. The efficiency gains and financial benefits of embracing sustainability can be significant – ranging from improved profits and market value to an attractive bottom line and decreased costs of production.
So, it’s quite clear why many global companies are already using sustainability as a market differentiator in an increasingly complex and competitive market. And if they’re not already, they are certainly planning to.
And it’s not only large global food and beverage companies reaping the benefits of sustainability. In fact, sustainability can be advantageous to companies of all shapes and sizes.
Sustainable Measures in the Food and Beverage Industry
An increasing number of food and beverage companies have made commitments to sustainability, environmental goals, and social responsibility.
Despite the devastating impacts and economic hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, many food and beverage firms are reporting increased levels of investment in environmental sustainability.
Manufacturers are continuing to implement sustainable measures throughout their operations. These extend into areas like responsible ingredient sourcing and transparency, reducing wasteful packaging, protecting farmers and farmland, and partnering with community groups and NGOs.
Food and beverage manufacturers are also paying close attention to areas such as energy use in operations, water efficiency and waste minimisation in their production facilities. To meet their environmental goals, many companies are also incorporating sustainable and green technologies into their operations.
A green technology that is being widely adopted by food and beverage companies that process liquids is liquid product recovery (“pigging”). Throughout the globe, pigging is being used by a diverse range of food and beverage companies. A few examples include companies that produce ingredients, ready meals, dips, sauces, syrups, musts, sodas, wines and spirits.
Pigging As a Sustainable Strategy
Pigging is a technology that is helping food and beverage manufacturers that process liquids lower costs and improve their sustainability. Pigging refers to the technique that uses a specialist projectile (the “pig”) to reclaim residual liquid product from pipelines between batches.
The pig is forced through the pipeline, by compressed air, CO2, nitrogen, water, or even the next product being processed. The hygienic (sanitary) pig fits compactly to the pipeline, so as it travels through the pipe, it recovers practically all the residual liquid that would otherwise be wasted (here’s a video of a process pigging system in operation).
Importantly, the product recovered by the pigging process is perfectly usable and can then be transferred to its destination tank or onto the next stage of the process.
Food and Beverage Manufacturers Reaping the Benefits of Pigging
Because HPS pigging systems reclaim the residual liquid from process pipelines, this increases yields and reduces product waste.
Pigging also has a number of other benefits, such as higher capacity, reduced cross-contamination risks and improved flexibility. Pigging also boosts efficiency through faster changeover times, decreased labour costs and reductions in downtime.
Pigging systems are also an incredibly effective way to improve environmental credentials through less waste, decreased chemical use, improved water efficiency plus much more.
Ways in Which Pigging Systems are Environmentally Sustainable
Hygienic and sanitary pigging systems directly save product waste. This not only increases yields and capacity, but is also a big step forward in improving environmental sustainability. No one likes waste, especially in the food an beverage industry.
But there are other ways in which pigging improves the sustainability credentials of food and beverages companies.
Many food and beverage production plants use vast volumes of water and cleaning agents, as part of the cleaning and changeover process. The problem being is that water is a finite resource and in some areas it’s also scarce.
Equally, some of the cleaning agents used by food and beverage manufacturers are potentially harmful, containing ingredients that have detrimental impacts to both people and the environment. This includes chemicals such as chlorine dioxide, chlorine gas, hypochlorites (potassium, sodium, and calcium), peracetic acid and so on. Although these are effective at sanitising processing equipment, they are all corrosive substances and require robust safety procedures.
And that’s where pigging comes in. Because pigging recovers so much product, it reduces the effort and resources needed to clean pipelines. Cleaning is much quicker and requires less sanitation, water, energy, and cleaning agents. In this way, pigging systems enhance safety and reduce environmental impact.
Take a look at our pipeline pigging case studies >>
The Environmental Implications of Waste Treatment and Disposal
HPS custom pigging systems also have a positive environmental impact as they reduce waste treatment and disposal requirements.
The cost of removal or treatment of waste from food and beverage plants is a huge expense and has a major impact on the bottom line. In addition, waste disposal includes transport, collection, treatment, and the disposal of waste which uses large amounts of resources, labour, and energy.
Because pigging systems reduce waste, lower the use of cleaning agents, and reduce water consumption, the environmental benefits of pigging are significant.
That’s why product recovery and pigging systems make financial and operational sense and help food and beverage companies towards their environmental sustainability goals.
Find Out More
If you are interested in improving your efficiency, profitability, and sustainability through pigging and liquid product recovery solutions, then please contact the process system experts. Our friendly and knowledgeable pigging system experts will be more than happy to discuss your application in further detail.
Alternatively, for additional information about pigging, including guides, FAQs, and supporting documentation, then please visit the Resources section of our website. You can find it here HPS Pigging System Resources.