Andy Gowing is Director of processing equipment manufacturer Kiremko B.V. and MD/COO of the company in the UK. During a recent interview with Global Potato News, he shared his thoughts on current and future trends in the potato processing industry.
GPN: As trends change in the food processing industry with ever-rising production costs a reality to consider, how relevant or important is equipment manufacturers in helping to contain and cut costs?
Efficiency is at the heart of profitability, and as such processors pay much more attention to the total cost of ownership, are not just considering the price tag of the machines. As all operators of processing plants know, the decision making process is to a large extent shaped by running costs, maintenance and yield losses. Plant monitoring and automation are very much at the forefront of customer’s thoughts at this time, so less staff and more “intelligent” controls not only increase operating efficiency, but also keep the plant running at its optimum performance for longer. Kiremko has recently introduced the Guard Range as a key component of its offering to customers in order to enhance efficiency, and we believe that the Guard Range can help to make this dream a reality.
GPN: What do processors expect from the raw product, and how do equipment manufacturers help them meet these expectations?
Processors expect the best quality and consistency from their raw materials, without a doubt. Machine manufacturers can fine tune their machines to get the best possible and high-end product delivered to processors. Continuous monitoring and automatic adjustments of machines allow the best possible results to be maintained during production runs, while automation removes the ‘human factor’ which unfortunately can often lead to inefficiencies.
GPN: How do you see the ‘face’ of potato processing changing in the next five years?
The potato industry is going through a prolonged period of growth as we speak. It is a global phenomenon and not limited to one geographic area or an individual product group. The big players are no doubt getting bigger by building new plants as well as by acquisition of smaller players. Customers are demanding better quality, lower prices and new innovations all the time. I believe there are possibilities for all processors to improve on efficiency, and I am also convinced that they can find lucrative niche markets within the sector. Consistency and efficiency are at the heart of these opportunities along with of course continued new product development.