Akin to other industries, dairy manufacturers are under the growing demand to increase sustainability efforts. It’s critical that in the process of making production lines leaner, however, the finished product is presented on store shelves in a safe and attractive package — this is especially true for dairy products as freshness is non-negotiable. Ultimately, the combination of an attractive, safe and sustainable package can provide a competitive edge, improve consumer perception and establish greater brand preference.

Time and effort are the main ingredients for planning and implementing technologies that can assist dairy manufacturers in enhancing the sustainability of their lines. Fortunately, finding solutions that can reduce carbon footprint, without sacrificing quality can be made easier.  Dairy processors can find the right tools and insights to implement solutions at Pack Expo International 2014 in November. Attendees will get to see the latest innovations in sustainable packaging and processing materials and operations, explore alternatives to replace or upgrade current equipment, exchange ideas with professionals across different industries at the show, and attend educational sessions — all under one roof.

There is a relentless push for leaner production lines across industries. After all, sustainability is an expected criterion of a package and also the production lines that produce them. Leading manufacturers know the importance and impact that it has on their business, environmentally, socially and economically. Thus, manufacturers must aim to be as lean as possible in their operations, while still delivering a safe and attractive product to consumers.

Parallel to over-packaging, under-packaging can be just as much of a waste. Packaging that cannot sustain and handle products sufficiently is liable to break and leak throughout the supply chain, creating even greater costs for the manufacturer. In addition to the waste of resources already put into the product, a leak or spill on the plant floor, for example, can also cause hazardous conditions for workers on site. To prevent these scenarios, brand owners must look for solutions and equipment that can safely and adequately handle the product throughout the entire supply chain.

Additionally, it is critical for manufacturers to consider what resources will be utilized to package their products. There are materials that can properly protect and package food or beverage while also being environmentally friendly. Selecting resources that can be easily reused and recycled can significantly reduce the amount of waste produced. For example, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and polypropylene (PP) which are used for dairy tubs and lids as well as yogurt cups are easily recyclable.

Utility use and packaging

Other solutions include evaluating the use of utilities such as heat, water and air. Minimizing the use of these resources in production lines can be extremely beneficial for the environment and even cost-effective for manufacturers in the long run. Finding solutions that use less heat, typically used to dry and wrap products, or reduce water used to lubricate the conveyor line, as well as decrease the use of compressed air, can all be good alternatives for manufacturers to increase sustainability in their lines. Examples include solutions such as an integrated tankless melter and fill system designed to improve productivity while delivering adhesive, energy and maintenance savings across multiple lines.

Under one roof

To help dairy manufacturers improve their production lines, Pack Expo International 2014 (Nov. 2-5 at McCormick Place, Chicago) will feature a wide range of processing and packaging technologies for the industry. The Brand Zone, located in the Upper North Hall, will help dairy brands find innovative containers and materials that can enhance their packaging and even extend shelf life.

 Additional features, such as The Processing Zone, located in Upper Lakeside, will provide innovative solutions for processing for the entire manufacturing line. The Food Safety Summit Resource Center, from the Food Safety Summit and sponsored by GE Intelligent Platforms, will bring together subject matter experts to address recent Food Safety Modernization Act developments, and other important food safety issues impacting manufacturing operations. Register at packexpointernational.com.