According to the Food & Drink Federation, the food and drink industry is the biggest manufacturing sector in the United Kingdom. The industry has a turnover of £104 billion, with healthy food products a vital investment for 2019.
To help our food logistics and supply chain customers, and anyone involved with trailer hire for food transport we’ve rounded up recent news from the UK food and drink industry.
Best Food Logistics Wins KFC Work
Transport company Best Food Logistics have won back their distribution deal with KFC.
Best Food initially lost the distribution deal with KFC to courier company DHL back in 2017. However, KFC made headlines last year when several KFC outlets ran out of chicken.
Best Food’s owner, Bidcorp, is hoping to sell the company along with PCL Transport. Bidcorp has been exiting low margin logistics activities. The loss of the KFC contract—and the resulting redundancies and downscaling—was a major factor in the decision to find a buyer.
Müller Invests in Electric Vehicles
Dairy company Müller are expanding the fleet of electric vehicles for their Milk & More delivery service. The service supplies milk, bread and other foods to several different areas in the UK; at the moment, Muller uses both diesel and electric vehicles. 160 additional electric vehicles will be brought into service, bringing the total number of electric vehicles to 500.
The new electric vehicles will reduce both noise and fuel consumption; reportedly, 3.4 million litres of diesel will be saved across the fleet.
Tesla, Daimler and Arrival are developing prototype electric vehicles, while delivery companies like UPS and Royal Mail have also trialled electric vehicles. It’s likely we’ll see more and more electric vehicles over the next few years.
Nestlé Withdraws Vegan Foods
Food manufacturer Nestlé have pulled a plant-based food brand.
The Garden Gourmet brand rolled out across Europe in 2016, and included many different types of food like burgers, mince and falafels. It first appeared in the UK in 2018, but in 2019 Nestlé confirmed they would discontinue the range here. However, a spokesman for the company said they would continue to explore plant-based foods.
Vegan foods have continued to grow in popularity over the last few years; in 2018, they accounted for 15.6% of product launches.
German Logistics Startup Expands
A startup based in Berlin is planning to expand its food logistics network internationally, with the UK as a possible destination.
The 40-employee startup, called fliit, streamlines B2B food supply; customers need only deal with a single point of contact rather than multiple service providers. Rather than owning trucks or employing drivers, fliit works with multiple carrier partners across the country.
fliit received €10 million in funding, with investors such as Maersk Growth and the Maschmeyer Group. They plan to hire 30 more people and expand into at least two European countries later this year. The UK is a possible destination, although Brexit has made this an uncertain prospect.
CO₂ Shortage Risk
Experts in the UK food industry have warned that a poor CO₂ supply chain could have a big impact on our food and drink supply.
Last year, British food and drink manufacturers ran out of CO₂. Facilities that produce CO₂ closed down for routine maintenance, just as sports events and sunny weather drove an increase in food and drink sales.
Experts recommend that the government get more involved with the CO₂ supply chain, the CMA investigate CO₂ production and supply, supplier contracts are reviewed and multiple suppliers are contracted.
Bosch Produces New Biscuit Machine
The German engineering company Bosch have designed a new machine that can produce 400 biscuit packs per minute.
The machine has been installed on the premises of Wibisco, a Barbados biscuit brand. Though the company already had some Bosch machines in house, they needed to replace some older equipment to meet market demand for smaller packages.
The new machines allow Wibisco to increase production output for smaller packaging by over 100%. They are also robustly constructed and work well under the high temperatures in the plant itself.
Tetra Pak Introduces New Digital Factory
Tetra Pak’s new factory features machines that can communicate with each other. They will be able to diagnose problems, look for a suitable engineer, and even order their own replacement parts.
Tetra Pak have been working alongside Microsoft, Elettric80 and ABB on this project, and builds on Tetra Pak’s earlier work in this area. These new ‘smart machines’ allow the human workforce to focus on other tasks, like managing the plant and minimising product waste.
Johan Nilsson, Tetra Pak’s VP of Industry 4.0 & Digitalisation, has said that their work is driven by consumer demands and existing regulation. However, he has also stressed that humans are still central to food manufacturing.
If you’re involved in trailer hire for food transport, we hope this article has helped keep you informed of the biggest stories around food logistics.
Whatever your transport needs may be, Leeds Trailers can help you meet them.
Visit our trailer hire page to see what we have available, or call us on 01924 420 646 to book a trailer.