Five key HR challenges in the food equipment manufacturing industry

Guest Column: Five key HR challenges in the food equipment manufacturing industry
COVID-19 has led to the creation of a ‘new normal’ which all businesses, especially the HR departments, are now trying hard to keep up with.
COVID 19, Food manufacturing plants, Food and Agriculture Organization, Human resource, HR, Trainning, Manpower, Sanjeev Gupta, Managing Director, Kanchan Metals, Equipment manufacturing, Labour migration, Safety
Food manufacturing as well as the food equipment manufacturing industry is one such industry that is witnessing some major repercussions of the global pandemic. The sector and its supply chains are facing a set of challenges which require effective and dedicated solutions so that organisations can stay competitive and relevant during this time.

Research by food industry executive has shown:

  • COVID-19 has exacerbated the prevailing issues in the sector, particularly around employee safety and productivity
  • almost three-quarters (72.5%) of food processing, equipment manufacturing and packing firms said they had changed their business strategy or operations in response to the pandemic
  • more than half (54%) of respondents predicted the food industry and their allied industries will emerge from the crisis stronger than it was before.
  1. Labour Migration: Nearly 115.3 million people are involved in industrial employment, out of which 56.4 million accounts for employment in the manufacturing sector, comprising mainly migrant workers. With the outbreak of the global pandemic, subsequent lockdown, and fear of recession, millions of migrants returned to their villages and hometowns. To address this issue, there is a dire need to revisit our national migration policies, which must include assistance and protection to be extended to migrants returning from areas adversely affected by major health crises. Moreover, we need resilient and robust food systems to provide food security and reduce the pressure to return to one’s hometown among migrants.
  2. Staying Competitive: Many businesses are responding to this volatile environment by rethinking their HR strategies. Goals like finding the appropriate combination of permanent and flexible staff in the workplace has now become essential as companies navigate the challenges of balancing cost concerns with the requirement of reliable, consistent service. These are two major challenges that food manufacturing businesses have to cope with to be aligned to the new norms brought in place by COVID-19. Another possibility in this scenario is companies will need to leverage HR tech to plan their entire workforce and recruit and onboard new workers.
  3. Employee Safety: Personal protective equipment and screens will become common sights in the manufacturing environment, as businesses look for ways to stop the virus from spreading while letting people come into the workplace and begin doing their jobs.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, manufacturing companies are also expected to rely on each other to share the best practices as well as discuss their successes or setbacks which they may have experiences in the process of resuming work. A strikingly positive trend that has emerged from the current situation is the transparency between food manufacturers.

  1. Recruitment: The most important part of HR in your manufacturing business is recruitment and finding the right people for the job. However, sourcing talent within the manufacturing industry is a feat in itself as the younger generations aren’t as enthusiastic about these roles. Hence, it has become imperative for HR professionals to provide high-quality recruitment processes so as to attract talent for filling these roles.
  2. Training: Training is an important HR function that can ensure your employees remain engaged with their work and feel proud to be part of your manufacturing business. It can further help to show to your employees that they are valued and you, as an employer, are willing to make investments in upskilling them.

On-the-job training, coaching, mentoring, career development, motivational sessions, reimbursement of tuition fees, and volunteering are all effective ways for HR managers to encourage their workforce and improve their productivity.-Manufacturing Today


5 Must have skills for women at work

Women these days are much more successful professionally than they have ever been. They make up a good ratio of managers and senior position holders and are starting to take over a host of different career paths which were erstwhile dominated by men, such as engineers, doctors, lawyers, marketing professionals, and so on.

Further, Raghav Gupta, MD, Kanchan Metals, believes these are the most sought -after skills for women to have for being successful at work:

  1. Technical skills: Having good technical skills leads to better productivity at work. Upskilling yourself will help to gain the technical skills required to perform the job successfully, and it will instill self-confidence and competence in daily tasks.
  2. Time management: Time is money! It’s essential that you manage your time and meet your deadlines, both for achieving personal productivity and as a part of your responsibility towards your organisation. Efficient time management involves being punctual, focusing on and being capable of meeting deadlines, paying attention to detail, being motivated, and enterprising to take initiatives.
  3. Leadership: Leadership skills are an essential part of your role within an organization which is a lot broader than the ability to tell people what to do. To be an effective leader, you must have skills like budgeting, coordinating resources, coaching, taking decisions, planning and mentoring, setting goals, and gathering information.
  1. Communication skills: To build meaningful relationships with your clients and colleagues an effective written, verbal and nonverbal communication is necessary. In your career trajectory, you will be representing your business in spoken and written forms. And here you are expected to convey a positive image as that will reflect on your organization too. This is where your professionalism and attention to minute details will set you up for success.
  2. Teamwork: Being a professional, you should be able to “share responsibility with others, be able to communicate effectively, and meet a common goal.” For this, you should be able to resolve workplace conflicts, foster positive relationships and build and manage a team.- India Today

Investment in Infrastructure for Food Equipment Sector


Launches vertical tray lifting system for the food processing industry

This system is used for ascending and descending of crates, trays, boxes of weight upto 50kgand offers transfer rate of 100 products per hour which will increase the distribution space and productivity.- Food Processing Bazaar


Kanchan Metals launches new conveyor belts in the food processing segment

Kanchan Metals, based in Greater Noida, has recently introduced a varied number of conveyor belts, especially for the food industry. Considering the market scenario and demand, Kanchan Metals took a strategic decision to launch new conveyor belts in the food processing segment.
They have introduced these machines under four major categories like Snack food application conveyors, Frozen food application conveyors, bakery and confectionary conveyors, and Packing section conveyors. Within these four categories, there are different types of conveyor belts like Wire Mesh belts, Positive drive belt with flights/scoop for Snack food application, Spiral freezer in feed and down take conveyors and spiral conveyor for Frozen Food, Non-stick belt dough ball and automatic belt tracking system conveyor for Bakery and confectionary, lastly Bucket Elevator and horizontal Incline conveyor for Packing Section.
These conveyors have a wide range of application-based design and specialized belt selection considering the most important aspects like the nature and stage of the product made. The conveyor’s design has a modular construction that offers hygiene and product safety throughout the conveying process.
Raghav Gupta, Director, Kanchan Metals, said, “We are delighted to announce the launch of our modern and advanced Conveying Solutions in the Snack food sector in India. We are offering best-in-class conveying solutions with a variety of belts such as Stainless-steel mesh, PU, PVC & Modular type. We also offer bucket elevators to feed products to the packing section. These conveyor belts can easily convey gentle/fragile products and hard products, cartons, boxes, etc. It also saves a lot of space. Along with that, these conveyor belts can be customised as per the user requirements.”- Food-Drink & Innovations


How Covid-19 pandemic has fuelled the growth of packaged food?

One of the fastest growing economies in the world and a sourcing hub for agricultural products, India has the advantage of a huge domestic market and raw material. There has been a phenomenal growth in the size of the food processing market due to reasons of change in consumption patterns, increasing urbanization, alterations in the gender composition of the workforce, and rising consumption rates. In addition, over two-thirds of the country’s population is young with rising incomes which has in turn created a large market for food products.

There has been a significant development of the production, manufacturing, processing, distribution and marketing of food products. On top of this, diets and taste changes because of reasons such as prices, size of disposable income, individual preferences, globalization etc. This has fuelled the growth and acceptance of packaged/processed foods by Indian consumers.

Market Insights

A well-known fact is that many of the domestic and multinational companies are anticipating profits from the upwards trajectory of the confectionery industry in India. The Food and Beverage (F&B) services industry has been a thriving business sector with an exponential growth in the recent past and is poised to develop even more in the times to come. The food automation market is likely to hit $12.50 billion by 2027, a rise at the rate of 7.10 percent.

The Indian food processing segment is also undergoing a significant growth cycle with multinational companies cementing their position and presence within the Indian market. The robust macro-economic indicators and strong policies have led to an incredible increase in foreign investments and collaborations in the past few years. In the period between April 2000 and June 2017, the food processing industry in India received FDI to the tune of $7.81 billion, rendering it the 13th largest sector receiving FDI in the country.

The industry is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% up to financial year 2023 to touch a value of Rs. 15,971.9 billion. Rising foreign investments and collaborations in the food processing segment of India signal an increase in the food and confectionery items that are being offered by global MNCs as well as domestic companies. The anticipated growth rate demonstrates that the segment has a massive growth potential and will go on to add to the development of the Indian economy.

Key Growth Drivers and Deterrents of the Industry

India is witnessing a rise in the population coupled with increasing urbanisation that has given a huge boost to the food industry. The fast-paced lifestyle and back-breaking schedules have made it difficult to maintain an adequate work-life balance for the consumer. As lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and heart ailments rise due to the sedentary lifestyle, people have started making the switch to healthy foods. Now consumers are steered towards demanding products that are highly nutritious and keep illnesses at bay, and they want these to be convenient to procure.

In light of these changing consumer patterns, responsible and ethical food processing is the need of the hour. Hence, packaged products like ready-to-eat foods, intermediary food items and frozen food items are fast gaining popularity. People working from home are especially raising the demand for confectionery items such as chocolates, raw pastes, and various such products. Due to the global health concerns surrounding COVID-19, the consumption of snacks has increased dramatically.

Since every household earns a two-fold income, there is a larger share of disposable income which people are spending on quick snacks. The new found mall culture and metropolitan lifestyles are further pushing higher-customer spending. In addition, the practice of farm to table is hitting the trending list. Millet cereal’s meal recipes are now making their way into imaginative cuisine. The largest development in the food industry is bulk food. Since they are known to be really good for health and cut down on carbohydrates removing gluten, their significance is increasing.

However, the industry does face certain hindrances to its growth. It suffers from low availability of raw materials as certain crops are seasonal and cause delay in the whole process. Farmers require the capital for equipment and fertilizers to improve the quality of their produce. In many cases, there is a lack of storage infrastructure, which results in food wastage and loss. There is poor connectivity of certain rural areas with locations where food processing units are situated. As a result, the producer takes a lot of time to reach these units, again leading to a lot of wastage. Lastly, there is a dire need to adopt technology as much of the product is inspected manually, and farmers lag behind in the competition with the global market.Franchise India,Restaurant India


Food & beverage companies will need to re-evaluate their strategy post-pandemic

During the Covid-19 pandemic, food manufacturers, processors and distributors witnessed a spike in demand as consumers scrambled to keep their kitchens and refrigerators fully stocked to comply with the stay-at-home orders. Still, the situation across the entire sector continues to look bleak and uneven and the industry is expected to face challenges in its recovery and revival.

Many food and beverages companies will have to rethink their strategy and readjust their focus to meet the evolving demands in the post-pandemic world.   

The food and beverage sector constitutes essential businesses but those companies that serve hospitality and restaurants segments saw a tremendous decline in demand. Many meat and plant processing plants had to be shut due to the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent health restrictions. The supply chain challenges constitute a major concern amongst food and beverage processors as there was a significant disruption caused by a serious lag in supply chain in the beginning period of the pandemic.

Though that situation is stabilising gradually, food and beverage companies will have to think of ways to adapt to the new normal moving ahead. In other words, they need an effective comeback strategy.

Key Trends Expected Post-Covid
The pandemic has significantly changed consumption patterns and reoriented them. In the post-coronavirus world, the consumers will be mindful of their health and safety along with developing environmentally sustainable habits. With this perspective, following are some of the trends likely to emerge:

Responsible Consumption – With pressing environmental issues, there are growing concerns of their impact on one’s health.

Products and services with both health and sustainability benefits are driving great appeal as people become responsible consumers. This presents an opportunity for the food and beverage brands to make a personal, powerful, and purposeful connection with their customers by addressing and communicating both simultaneously.  

Convenience Paramount – As the world undergoes a demographic change, smaller households and living alone (in some cases) are becoming common now. Gone are those days when convenience food meant unhealthy fast food.

Now, consumers want convenience coupled with eco-friendly existence. Innovative ways like eco-friendly packaging, paper-based cartons, and plant-based food will likely arise which the food and beverage companies will have to embrace.

Heritage Gains Prominence – The desire to be authentic and maintain individuality will lead to products picking up traditional flavours and foods. The concept of combining foreign ingredients with local ones is also expected to pick up steam. Thus, this trend is likely to pave way for local brands, especially in developing markets.

Personalisation – Consumers know and understand the value that their personal data holds and expect companies to be more transparent in using this data. They also expect to receive something of value in exchange for sharing it. Hence, this places a responsibility on brands to give customers the information required to make informed choices.

Strategies for Survival
Given the challenges and major trends likely to gain ground in future, food and beverage businesses need to be more proactive in their approach. They need to take practical steps to weather the storm, meet changing consumer demands and achieve future growth.

Here are some ways in which food and beverage sector can navigate these unprecedented times:

1.    Shift to Direct-to-Consumer
As restaurants and hotels closed down, food processing and distributing firms had to pivot their operations to survive. Since many companies could not sell goods via their regular wholesale and retail partners, direct-to-consumer models became more mainstream. Companies are revamping their own websites to enable direct ordering or through home delivery. More food and beverage companies are also reaching out to consumers during the pandemic with targeted and tailored Covid-19 messages. Even with the restaurants and hotels reopening, social distancing rules and reluctance among prospective customers to mingle in crowds will continue to exist. Hence, food companies will have to adopt a more consumer-centric approach going forward to make it economically viable.

2.    Supply Chain Diversification
Even when the pandemic abates, factories across the globe will have to tackle serious labour force issues, as workers decide not to return or owners need to incentivise them to come back, which in turn lead to spiralling of costs. Hence, as the pandemic continues to be unpredictable with passing time, food and beverage companies will have to keep diversifying their supply chains in order to prevent shortages.  Companies need to mitigate the risk inherent in supply chain disruption by focusing on vertical integration – sourcing more raw materials and components locally and taking the ownership of supply.

3.    Maintaining Consistent Flow of Shipments
As people continue to keep their movements limited for safety reasons, consumer demand for food and related goods will remain high. Food and beverage companies will have to ensure the flow of goods and services by having enough drivers and truckers on-board for seamless movement and shipping. Pandemic or not, people will need to eat and drink and so, maintaining sufficient supply to meet the incessant demands has become extremely crucial. Thereby, food companies now will have to reshape and remodel their businesses – by working with various players or by becoming more tech-savvy than bricks and mortar.

4.    Setting Up Customer Portal for Distribution Network
In addition to taking care of their consumers, food and beverage companies also need to think of ways to improve relationships with their B2B buyers, retail partners and distribution networks. This can be done by offering them a similar flexibility in online buying options and experiences, which the B2C customers enjoy. Establishing a B2B digital customer portal can simplify the highly complex B2B buying processes, thus adopting a customer-centric approach across marketing, commerce and service.  This way food businesses can expand their market reach and ensure that orders and deliveries are processed smoothly.  

5.    Streamline E-commerce
It’s essential that food and beverage businesses set up an online selling presence and streamline their e-commerce. Retailers and grocery stores are required to have the right tools handy which will enable them to create engaging digital and mobile experiences. Consumers will be able to make their purchases via digital channels and have essential food and grocery items delivered to their doorstep. Food businesses also need to offer flexible order and its fulfilment options, such as touchless ordering, online payments, and curb-side pickup.  

6.    Adopt Tech Solutions
Technological solutions will have to be leveraged to connect the food and beverage industry with consumer data and preferences so that health can be monitored effectively, brands can influence diets and other relevant services can be provided for improving the entire ecosystem. Tech is expected to be a huge disruptor of the industry, empowering brands to reach out to their consumers in new ways enabling more sustainable, advanced and cooperative systems. Moreover, consumers want to learn more about the products they are consuming. This is where automated solutions and tools such as dynamic QR codes and smart packaging come in, providing full traceability of the product. Digitisation can, thus, result in better business outcomes, which can be in terms of quality, cost, sales or any other aspect of the business.

Although the food and beverage sector has been adversely hit by Covid-19 pandemic, disruption always comes in the garb of an opportunity to adapt and respond to new growth possibilities. By understanding and quickly adapting to the changing business dynamics, the food and beverage companies will be able to come out thriving on the other side of the crisis.- FnB News


Trends To Watch Out In 2021 For Indian Snacking Industry

India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Owing to a huge domestic market and adequate availability of raw materials, the country has become the sourcing hub for various agricultural products. Factors such as the traditional snacking culture, changing consumption patterns, rising urbanization, changes in the gender composition of the workforce, and increasing consumption rates. The younger lot, that makes up for nearly two-thirds of the country’s population, with their growing incomes have created a market for snack products.

Due to the rising demand, there has been an improvement in the manufacturing, processing, distribution and marketing process of snack foods. Diets and tastes have undergone a sea change, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown because people had to switch to working from home and developed the habit of munching while working. This pattern has led to a popularity of packaged snack products by Indian consumers.

Current Market Scenario

In India, most of the people still prefer to opt for unpackaged food. But the ongoing pandemic has raised concerns about health safety and changed this preference. Now there’s a slow and steady move towards packaged snack foods in tier-3 cities as well. the packed food reaches consumers in protected packs that had minimum handling. The packaging also makes identification of the product easy and mitigates the risk of adulteration and wastage due to spillage.

Many of the domestic and multinational companies are expecting profits from the rise of the snacking industry in India. The Food and Beverage (F&B) services industry has been a flourishing business sector with an exponential growth in the past few years. It is poised to grow even more in the times to come. The food automation market is projected to touch $12.50 billion by 2027, rising incredibly at the rate of 7.10 percent.

The Indian snacking industry is undergoing a remarkable growth cycle as multinational companies establish their presence within the Indian market. Foreign investments have been on the rise, thanks to strong policies in place. The period between April 2000 and June 2017 witnessed foreign direct investments amounting to nearly $7.81 billion, making the packaged food industry the 13th largest segment receiving FDI in the country.

The snacking and confectionary industry is all set to expand at a CAGR of 11.5% by the financial year 2023 and is likely to reach a value of Rs. 15,971.9 billion. Growing FDI and collaborations in the industry signal a rise in the snacking items that are being offered by domestic companies and global MNCs. The numbers indicate that the segment possesses a huge growth potential and will add immensely to the development of the Indian economy.

Key Growth Factors & Deterrents

The branded savoury snacks market has come a long way since the decade of 1990s, when the industry was dominated majorly by large players and a handful of regional brands. Innovations are always underway in the Indian snack industry. The Indian snack giants are always surprising and delighting their consumers with unique and amazing taste offerings. The new flavours are inspired by the diversified food culture and the fun spirit inherent in Indians.

In addition, India’s population is rising accompanied with a rise in urbanisation, which in turn has given a huge boost to the food industry. Hectic schedules are making it difficult for people to maintain the right work-life balance. Also, due to Covid, as well as rise in lifestyle diseases like heart ailments and diabetes, many have started making the switch to healthy snacking. Now consumers want to purchase products that are nutritious, tasty, and convenient to procure.

These changing trends and patterns have led to a growth in the demand of responsible and ethical food processing. Packaged products like read-to-eat foods and frozen foods are becoming highly popular. Employees working from home are specially going for confectionary items such as cookies, biscuits, chocolates, namkeens and many other similar products. Namkeen rules the Indian savoury snack sector.

Rising disposable incomes, mall culture and metropolitan lifestyles are boosting higher-customer spending. Also, the practice of farm to table is making the trending list. Bulk foods and Millet cereal’s meal recipes are making their way into imaginative and highly sought-after cuisines. The former is good for health and low on carbs removing gluten, making them very popular.

However, the industry also suffers hindrances in terms of low availability of raw materials for certain seasonal crops, lack of storage infrastructure, and poor connectivity of certain rural areas with food processing units located far. As a result, a lot of wastage happens. There is an urgent need to adopt the latest technologies to keep up the quality of produce and to enable farmers to compete in the global market.

Summing Up

The snacking trend has been brought in from the West, but the Indian touch is constant and quite evident in the available varieties. The producers will need to balance the varied tastes and blend the snacks according to rising demands.-BusinessWorld


Commodity Champions: What’s in store for India’s snack and food processing industry?


The competitive landscape of the industry changed during Covid-19?

How has the competitive landscape of the industry changed during Covid-19?
The intensity of competition in the industry is very much the same if not more aggressive as no one wants to pass up on any opportunity, especially during such crucial times. Companies are also seeking to differentiate themselves by experimenting with healthier dishes or upgrading their ingredients. There is a major struggle and more efforts are required when it comes to pricing. Our focus is to work on products where we enjoy a competitive edge in the market and leverage our experience to offer suitable, sustainable, and best solutions to our customers.- FnBNews


Strategic Decision to launch new conveyor belts

Kanchan Metals (P) Ltd, a leading and pioneer company offering food processing machines has recently introduced a varied number of Conveyor Belts, especially for the Food Industry. Considering the market scenario and demand, Kanchan Metals took a strategic decision to launch new conveyor belts in the food processing segment.- Business News This Week


A construction that offers hygiene and product safety

These conveyors have a wide range of application-based designs and specialized belt selection considering the most important aspects like the nature and stage of the product made. The conveyor’s design has a modular construction that offers hygiene and product safety throughout the conveying process.-Manufacturing Today 



Spurred by the GOVT initiative to continuously innovate and create new devices in India, such as a weight-controlled seasoning system, to ensure correct snack coverage and increased performance in seasoning loss management.


Western-style Snack food in India

The newly launched snack processing unit has a Line capacity from 300 kg to 1.5ton/Hr.  These processing lines also consist of a variety of equipment like Meal Blending, pneumatic conveying, distribution & seasoning systems that are offered by KMPL to ensure consistent production and quality.-Hospibuz


Processing equipment for western-style snack food in India

The United News of India says-


“The forthcoming festive season should witness a huge demand for processed food items”

“The forthcoming festive season should witness a huge demand for processed food items and it is the right time for manufacturers to increase their capacity. Our products enjoy credibility and demand from the market for its known quality and high production standard. We believe that the food processing industry is a sunrise sector and is vital to India’s development and has the potential to strengthen India’s position, globally. With this, our products have a great market potential to serve the ecosystem,” he added.


Customized Solution At Affordable Prices



H2S Media

 The automatic random extruded snack lines which are built as an interface with extruders from American Extrusion International USA delivers consistent results for the production of random fried extruded snacks which are unmatched in texture. These lines are designed for continuous production runs.-H2S Media


Business News This Week

Mr Raghav Gupta, Director, Kanchan Metals said, “We are delighted to continue developing equipment that can help automate ethnic products for India which is the world’s sixth-largest food industry.-Business News This Week


Press Network of India

With our consistent efforts and support from our Global OEM’swe aim to interface the most advanced technology for food production with locally manufactured auxiliary equipment to help bring down the cost of the machinery and widen its reach to the Indian food producers.-Press Network of India


4ps News

Kanchan Metals is known for its reliability and strong after sale service and hope to strengthen this image with this equipment as well”- 4ps News


H2S Media

How to ensure hygiene using new technology when working in food plants-H2S Media


India’s Best Minds on Economic Revival

India’s Best Minds on Economic Revival | Building Aatmanirbhar India | NewsX. Be the part of an exclusive Discussion with our Director Mr. Raghav Gupta and other super speakers addressing “how to get business and economy back” on NewsX News.


Web News Wire

Modern manufacturing machines can make India’s most loved snacks aloo bhujia, soya sticks, Navratna mixtures, cheese ball etc. –Web News Wire