A manufacturing facility is like a living organism. Think of production, purchasing, warehousing and quality assurance as cells. Each of these departments has a job to do that in some way touches the other functions. Each has to communicate with the others so that the whole enterprise runs smoothly.
Mike Hardy is showing me an aseptic filler. “There are only two speeds to this — 0 and 600 bottles a minute,” he says. I watch a blur of bottles enter one end of the machine from an overhead conveyor, whirl from carousel to carousel and exit the other end. In a matter of seconds, the bottles have been sterilized, filled and capped.
Hood is New England’s beloved dairy brand with roots that reach back to 1846 when Harvey Perley Hood founded the company in Derry, N.H. Today, HP Hood LLC, based in Lynnfield, Mass., near Boston, processes branded lines of milk, ice cream, cheese and other dairy products that rank among the best-sellers in the Northeast.
Our annual report card grades the various categories of dairy foods and beverages. None fail, but clearly, product developers need to bone up on chemistry to develop exciting new products. Remedial work in marketing principles will help convey dairy’s nutritional benefits.
After 16 months of steady price declines, the global dairy markets are on the rise again. The world’s appetite for dairy products hasn’t abated, while a slowdown in milk production growth in the United States and Europe this summer has put a squeeze on the international market. Supplies are expected to be snug well into 2013, pointing to continued strong prices ahead.
Nobody puts butter in a corner. Not anymore. Long shunted to the dietary sidelines because of its saturated-fat content and high caloric value, butter is undergoing a renaissance. You can thank fine-dining (see related article) and a renewed interest in cooking at home for that.
Ice cream is marketed to consumers as a “fun” food, but the industry sees little to enjoy. Sales of ice cream, novelties, and sherbets have declined. Frozen yogurt, on the other hand, is the category star.
Ice cream is a price-driven food with little brand loyalty. Sure, consumers say they have their favorite flavors and brands, but when that moment of truth arrives and it’s time to grab a carton from the freezer, price beats brand. The best-selling national brand is “private label.” And the sad truth of it is, Americans are buying less ice cream.