Food Manufacturing

Seven Key Trends for the Future of Food and Farming

Research indicates that, among other technological innovations, smart greenhouses with vertical farming will be pivotal in driving the ‘Fourth Agricultural Revolution’.

Fischer Farms unveiled the world's largest vertical farm in Norfolk, UK, earlier this month. Credit: Farmer's Guide.


At Klipspringer, we’ve been helping food businesses ensure safety, compliance, and efficiency for over twenty years. As part of our ongoing commitment to insightful, industry-leading content, Klipspringer’s research expert Alex Blair has written this article to notify readers about developments unfolding at the forefront of food production.


On 15 November 2022, the world population reached 8 billion people. Together with climate change, geopolitical tensions, disparities in food security, the pandemic, and ethical dietary considerations, population growth is one of the key factors instigating change throughout international food systems.

Labelled as ‘pressures’ in a UK Government report, these factors create an urgent need to produce more food on less land. How to approach this task most effectively is the subject of heated debate between advocates of traditional or technological methods.

Nonetheless, advancements in machinery and plant breeding will become increasingly utilised in food production, according to a report from Global Data investigating technological trends across several sectors.

Technology or tradition? Debates over sustainable, equitable food production have polarised agricultural experts for years. Credit: Getty Images.

Trend #1 – An Expansion in Drone Usage and Automatisation

Agricultural drones are unmanned vehicles used for yield optimisation and monitoring crop growth. By 2030, it is predicted that they will also be able to carry out crop spraying and terrain monitoring.

As seen below, the demand for agri-drones is rising rapidly. This is partly due to the labour crisis and skills shortage, and partly due to agri-drones capacity to conduct diagnostics impossible for ground checks, such as soil pH level, irrigation, and temperature.

Graph 1. Growth in agri-drone patents. Source: Global Data's Patent Analytics Database.

Challenges facing the future development of agri-drones include poor rural connectivity, regulatory hurdles (particularly minimising chemical drift during crop spraying), and weather dependency. In spite of this, some estimate that 80-90% of drone market growth in the next decade will come from agriculture.

Trend #2 – A Rise in Blockchain Technology Supply Systems

In the past three years, supply chain failures have plagued the food industry.

Rising prices and supply breakdowns of cooking oil were particularly noticeable. Various issues including manufacturing backlogs, a lack of qualified workers, and a shortage of raw materials have severely impacted the international food supply chain. Not to mention wars and global pandemics.

As a digital system for recording trade transactions among multiple parties, blockchain technology allows for a vast and unlimited number of trading partners to access data and supplies privately, anonymously, and securely. Blockchains offer equal access for each partner in the network at all times – enhancing traceability, deterring fraud, and improving responses to contamination and foodborne illnesses.

Figure 1. Blockchain supply system. Source: Klipspringer.

Major food companies such as Nestlé, Dole Food Co., and Unilever have already integrated blockchain technology into their supply systems. An increasing number of organisations are researching the potential benefits of blockchain – particularly since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emphasised the need for ‘tech-enabled traceability’ as part of their New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint in 2020.

Trend #3 – A Surge in Smart Greenhouses and Vertical Farming

As a combination of traditional agricultural systems and modernised automation, smart greenhouses allow farmers to construct a self-regulated microclimate, boosting productivity.

Within these greenhouses, vertical farming – a stacked growing system for indoor crops – received over $1 billion in funding in 2021, exceeding its combined funding generated in 2018 and 2019. This included Fischer Farm’s announcement of a £25m vertical farm in Norfolk – unveiled earlier this month. The plant will supply 6.5 tonnes of leafy salad, herbs, and other fresh produce to UK supermarkets each day

Smart greenhouse job advertisements have also increased fivefold in just under two years, as demonstrated below.

Graph 2. Smart greenhouse-related job advertisements. Source: Global Data Job Analytics Database.

Population growth is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, with approximately 5 billion people converging in cities. Therefore, growing nutritionally dense food closer to urban areas is the most significant benefit of this trend.

The enormity of this challenge is likely to outweigh reservations regarding the high upfront costs of smart greenhouses. Even so, alternative solutions will be required for the ‘smart’ cultivation of cereals and fruits, which vertical farming is largely ineffective at.

Investors will also have to weigh up the land-saving benefits against the high electricity consumption of smart greenhouses.

Trend #4 – A Transition from GMOs to CRISPR Techniques for Food Cultivation

Controversy has surrounded Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for over a decade.

Critics point out their threat to small-scale farmers, strengthening of corporate control over global food supply, and damage to biodiversity due to intensive monoculture systems. Public attitudes remain sceptical and strong regulation around safety and labelling is unwavering.

However, research into the biological, nutritional, and socioeconomic implications of CRISPR technology is starting to gain traction.

Figure 2. GMO vs CRISPR food cultivation. Source: Klipspringer.

Put simply, CRISPR is a genetic engineering technique by which the genomes of living organisms are modified through deleting, adding, or altering sections of DNA. Advocates for CRISPR techniques claim that the use of this novel DNA leads to:

  • Improved food safety (by knocking out antibiotic resistance to provide immunity against pathogens like salmonella)
  • Lengthened shelf life of perishable foods
  • Development of new products that taste better and have other desirable traits for consumers

One example of these ‘desirable traits’ is celiac-safe wheat, beneficial for those suffering from celiac disease (an extreme allergy to gluten). Another is improving the crop benefits and taste of decaffeinated coffee.

Despite these potential opportunities, widespread gene editing for food production purposes will be slowed by public misgivings and regulatory hurdles. This trend is forecasted not to develop significantly until the latter part of this decade.

Trend #5 – A Steady Growth in Alternative Proteins

Analysts predict that the alternative meat and dairy markets will continue to expand steadily – but not as much as some have touted

Primarily driven by concerns for animal welfare, health, and the environment, daily meat consumption in the UK has reduced by 17% in the last decade, according to a study published in Lancet Planetary Health.

Meat alternatives are expected to hit double digits in value growth from 2020 to 2025, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.7%. Meanwhile, the alternative dairy market has a similar projected CAGR (12.5%), but over the space of eight years, from 2022 to 2030.

The below table illustrates the pros, cons, and key markets associated with various types of alternative proteins.

Alternative Protein Type

Pros

Cons

Key Markets

Insect Protein

-High protein levels

-Lower carbon footprint, land and resource use compared to animal proteins

-Widespread aversion to eating insects (especially in Western countries)

-Asia Pacific Region

-Latin America

-Africa

Cultured Meat*

-Lower carbon footprint than animal protein

-Predicted to be cheaper than beef by 2030

-Improved animal welfare

-Still regulatorily prohibited in the USA, UK & EU  

-Worsened taste

-Israel

-Asia Pacific Region

Plant-Based Proteins

-Lower carbon footprint, land and resource use

-Can replace both meat and dairy products

-Currently attracting the most investment of all alternative proteins

-Vitamin B12 deficiency

-No cheaper as an alternative than traditional proteins

-North America

-Europe

-Latin America

-Asia Pacific Region

Microbial Proteins**

-Sidesteps animal cruelty

-Can be carried out using organic waste

-Lower carbon footprint, land and resource use

-Further research needed on allergic reactions and gastrointestinal symptoms

-North America

-Asia Pacific Region

Table 1. Pros, cons, and key markets of alternative protein types. Sources: Klipspringer and Global Data.

*Cultured meat is produced from animal cells rather than actual meat.

**Microbial proteins are single-celled proteins typically made up of fungi, bacteria, or algae.

Overall, the growth of alternative proteins is significant, but not enough to seriously disrupt the monopoly that traditional proteins have on the food market. By 2026, traditional meat or dairy products are still expected to account for 51% of global food sales, compared with just 1.4% for alternative proteins.

Trend #6 – A Heightened Focus on Livestock Healthtech to Fight Zoonotic Diseases

Meat and dairy industries are entirely dependent on livestock numbers. As any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans, zoonotic diseases – or zoonoses – can devastate livestock numbers, and, therefore, food markets.

The spread of African swine fever (ASF) in pigs across Southeast Asia is a prominent example of a market-devastating disease. Following an outbreak in China in August 2018, ASF led to the deaths or culling of millions of pigs dying Southeast Asia. With pork meat accounting for over 35% of global meat consumption, global prices soared.

Figure 3. Key emerging technologies. Source: Klipspringer.

As analysed in the previous trend, traditional proteins look set to retain their stranglehold on global markets, at least for the time being. In light of this, food and farming organisations are anticipated to focus on protecting livestock numbers through animal health monitoring and vaccine development.

Trend #7 – An Increase in Use of Digital Twins to Predict and Optimise Farm Operations

A digital twin is a representation of a physical system that can help to understand, predict, and optimise performance. Data is collected from the physical asset, including information that cannot be observed, such as soil health. The digital twin analyses previous patterns to simulate future behaviour, allowing farmers to act quickly if a deviation occurs.

Digital twins are underpinned by remote operation, which is a hotly contested aspect to this so-called ‘new phase of smart farming’. Supporters cite the capacity to conduct planning and control away from the site, and to carry out predictive analysis and real-time response, while critics highlight jobs lost due to automatisation.

Digital twins. Credit: Tomato News.

While automatised developments like digital twins are promising with regard to efficiency, cost-saving, and sustainability, if implemented improperly they could have serious ramifications for rural livelihoods. A most prominent example of this dispute between cause and consequence is the population divergence into urban areas, which is predicted to cause a global decrease in rural populations and farms.

Extreme care must be taken to ensure that trends of this sort are only used in response to our shifting population demographics, intensifying climate, and unequally distributed global food supply, rather than driving these changes in the first place.

Businesses seeking to innovate by implementing the developments and trends outlined above must also commit to genuine corporate responsibility regarding their ethical and environmental consequences. Dedicating time to educate and fully inform your team is essential to this responsibility.


For more insightful content, click below to see a breakdown of the first webinar in our ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series, hosted by Klipspringer alongside two expert panellists.


What are the 5S Lean Principles, and where does 5S come from?

Seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.

These words may be alien to you now, but in the few minutes it’ll take to read this article, you’ll be singing their praises. You’ll also possess an invaluable tool for cultivating a more efficient, compliant, and organised workplace.


Where does 5S come from?

Although it originally developed in Japan, 5S’s roots are frequently debated.

Some claim that the concepts underpinning 5S come from 16th century Japanese shipbuilders, whose streamlined assembly process allowed ships to be built in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks.

Others argue that it was officially introduced by Toyota in the 1970s, when their analysts were sent to dissect the assembly line of rivals Ford Motor Company. Based on these findings, Toyota formulated a methodology to surpass their competitors.


So, what exactly is 5S?

Put simply, 5S is a framework for operational efficiency. At first, that might sound like typically vague self-development drivel – but 5S differs from other improvement systems in its applicability.

Translated from Japanese, the five words – Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke – mean Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardise, and Sustain. When used as a lean manufacturing tool, these 5Ss eliminate waste, uphold health and safety standards, and cultivate an environment of unrivalled productivity.


What can it help your business with?

Often associated with similar concepts like Six Sigma or Kaizen, 5S is starting to gain traction in the food industry. Research has proven its effectiveness across a variety of workplaces, with benefits including:

  • Happier staff – your team will appreciate your efforts to make their job easier through a more pleasant and manageable working environment.
  • Amplified productivity – logical workspace organisation decreases downtime and time-consuming misunderstandings (not to mention that if your staff are happier, they’ll be more productive).
  • Tidier and safer workspace – both Sorting (Seiri) and Shining (Seiso) make your workspace tidier, which contributes to eliminating health and safety risks.
  • Better quality and lower prices – increased efficiency makes your products more consistent and of better quality, resulting in increased profits, as well as the option to reduce prices for your loyal customer base.

How can you implement 5S?

1) Sort (Seiri)

There is a growing body of studies addressing direct methods of implementing the 5S Framework. Of course, these applications are dependent on the type of workplace they are intended for. However, overarching recommendations can be made regarding implementation at each of the five stages:

2) Set In Order (Seiton)

Consider the layout of your current workstations. Do your workers have to excessively relocate to get to the places they need to be? Do they waste precious time searching for the tools that they need?

Setting in order ensures that staff don’t waste time searching for tools and utensils that aren’t in the right place. This could involve drawing up a 5S Map of your workplace, or using the ever-popular Shadow Boards and Tool Stations.

3) Shine (Seiso)

This is an easy one – simply keeping your factory floor or food production space clean and tidy. We suggest regular hygiene practices, including scheduled clean-downs and ‘clean as you go’ policies, in addition to black bag audits and consistent inspections to ensure that everywhere is kept pristine. This will ensure that people can work in a mess- and risk-free environment (important for productivity and morale). It also ensures that machinery is properly cared for – extending work life and saving replacement costs.

4) Standardise (Seiketsu)

By writing down what is being done, where, and by whom, you can officially incorporate new practices into normal work procedure. This paves the way for long-term change.

Before writing any Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), observe employees to see where problems arise, and which methods work most consistently. Consult employees to double-check each stage, and ensure the process feels natural.

Common tools for this process include:

5S Checklists – listing the individual steps of a process makes it easy for workers to follow that process completely. It also provides a simple visual management tool to check progress later on.

Job Cycle Charts – identify each task to be performed in a work area, and decide on a schedule or frequency for each of those tasks. Then, assign responsibility to a particular worker (or job duty). The resulting chart can be posted visibly to resolve questions and encourage accountability.

Procedure Labels and Signs – provide operating instructions, cleaning steps, and preventative maintenance procedures exactly where that information is needed.

5) Sustain (Shitsuke)

Implementing a 5S approach is not a one-off event. The fifth step, Sustain – or Shitsuke, which translates literally as ‘discipline’ – follows the idea of continual commitment. As a framework, 5S is most effective when habitualised and re-applied over and over.

Depending on the workplace, steps might include:

  • Management Support
  • Department Tours
  • Updated Training Procedures
  • In-House Progress Audits
  • Performance Evaluations

Whatever programme or methods you deem most suitable for your organisation, getting the basics of the first four steps right makes ongoing success easier to sustain.


Feel ready to implement the 5S Framework in your workplace?

Check out our gallery of Shadow Boards, used by the likes of Lidl, Tesco Maintenance, McDonalds, Aston Martin, and Bakkavor, or chat with one of our consultants: 01473 461 800.


Klipspringer to Sponsor BRCGS Food Safety Europe Conference 2023

What is the Food Safety Europe Conference?

We are delighted to announce that, as a BRCGS partner organisation, Klipspringer will be returning to sponsor this year’s Food Safety Europe Conference (FSEC).

Curated to enhance European food safety management across retail, food service, and manufacturing environments, the FSEC is an exemplar industry event. It provides a platform for leading figures to pool their knowledge, resulting in invaluable insights and feedback for attendees.

The one-day conference will also feature keynote presentations from influential companies including Amazon, Nestle, and Just Eat, alongside decisive regulators such as the Food Standards Agency and, of course, the BRCGS itself. Their newly revised Global Standards for Food Safety Issue 9 will be a topic of hot discussion at the FSEC.

When and where is FSEC23, and how much does it cost?


Date: Wednesday 1st February

Time: 8:00am–5:00pm

Location: Etc Venues, 133 Houndsditch, Liverpool Street, London, EC3A 7BX

Price: £330-£1,170 (depending on ticket type) – use the code KLIP20 for a 20% discount on your ticket registration price here.


FSEC23 – Ones to watch

There are numerous presentations and panel sessions at this year’s FSEC which look highly promising. Below, we’ve outlined a few which caught our eye…

08:45–9:10am: Outlining Amazon’s Approach to Food Safety

Delivered by John Michael Piggott, EU Head of Food Safety, this keynote speech will undoubtedly be a strong start to the conference. It is likely to contain important information regarding the food safety assurances required by the world’s largest online retailer, who are now branching into food delivery.

09:35–10:15am: Horizon Scanning to Determine and Plan for Potential Food Safety Challenges

Following a year plagued by supply chain issues caused by war, fuel costs, and climate change-driven weather, experts from Waitrose, Barilla, and the Food Standards Agency will discuss lessons from 2022 and forecast challenges for 2023 in what looks set to be an engaging panel debate.

10:50–11:15am: BRCGS Presentation: What is New in Issue 9?

On 1 August 2022, the BRCGS released their latest version of the Global Standards for Food Safety, a global benchmark against which leading companies set their requirements for compliance. This presentation is relevant for those seeking more information on the widely read article our expert team at Klipspringer researched and compiled on the key changes from Issue 8 to Issue 9.

14:50–15:15pm: Microbiology Under the Microscope: New Trends, Tools, and Challenges

Led by John Donaghy, Head of Food Safety, Corporate Operations and Quality Management at Nestle, this afternoon session might perhaps go under some attendees’ radars. However, for those interested in future trends in food production (especially plant-based proteins) it is certainly worth a listen.

These talks are merely the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to browse the full conference agenda here.

For any questions about the Food Safety Europe Conference, our team are more than happy to help, if you contact us at: 01473 461 800.

Interested in attending? Click here to register – and don’t forget that KLIP20 discount code for 20% off!


In-House Thermometer Verification Methods Explained

Whenever temperature plays a role in the food safety or quality of a product, checking thermometer calibration is a critical part of the technical department’s routine.

For some it’s daily and for others it’s weekly. Whichever it is, there are three main ways technical and quality teams throughout the world do this:

Ice & Boiling Water

For many years, ice and boiling water was the favorite method, mainly due to the fact it was the only option!

Although it seems simple and inexpensive, it has several downfalls which compromise both its accuracy and safety for use in the modern food factory.

  • Low cost
  • Check multiple probes at once
  • Temperatures are constantly increasing or decreasing, requiring an additional reference thermometer
  • Difficult to obtain consistent, repeatable results
  • Health & safety risk from boiling water
  • Takes significant time to set up, carry out and clear up.

Test Caps

Test caps are a quick and convenient way to check thermometer units, doing away with many of the problems presented by ice and boiling water.

Are they really the straightforward solution that they seem?

  • Safe to use
  • Fast checking process with no set up required
  • Not suitable for thermometers with integral probes
  • Every test cap needs externally calibrating to UKAS standard each year
  • Test caps simulate the electrical current of a probe. 20 years’ worth of data shows that the majority of thermometer accuracy issues are with the probe, so if the thermometer is perfect but the probe is not reading correctly, test caps will not identify this.

The LazaPort Family

Klipspringer launched the first Lazaport into the food industry as a safer, faster and more accurate way to check probe thermometers on site.

20 years on, Klipspringer is launching the third generation model to further improve the efficiency and compliance of on-site temperature calibration.

  • Calibrates probe and thermometer together at 0 and 100°C
  • Rapid process to check multiple probes at once, with minimal set-up required
  • Traceable to UKAS standard and accurate to +/- 0.3°C
  • No separate reference thermometer required
  • Also calibrates infrared thermometers
  • Adjustable for different probe dimensions and types

Interested to find out more about how the LazaPort works, and what benefits it could bring to your team?


Preventing Foreign Body Contamination - Why Detection Should Be the Last Resort

Even the most stringent of detectability-oriented food safety systems are not fail-safe. The below image – taken in Melbourne, Australia, by a customer of a prominent global food retailer – shows exactly why prevention is a more effective approach.  

Upon discovering a sharp metal spring in her meal, the mother-of-two said she “felt something was right in my tooth”. After spitting out her food, she noticed the large spring, and, in her own words, “instantly felt sick”.  

Worst of all, this customer was with her two children, both under the age of three. Afterwards, she told 7News Australia that: “I just keep thinking about what could’ve happened if it was either of my young children and how scary it could’ve turned out.”  

Public exposure of this sort will taint any company’s reputation. Following this incident, a three-pronged investigation between the restaurant, customer, and council had to be undertaken. But it was entirely preventable.  

A Common Non-Conformance

Due to the unavoidable need for pens and other utensils in and around production lines, poor foreign body contamination control is one of the most commonly identified BRCGS non-conformities. More importantly, it is also a violation of compliance – not to mention customer trust. In this era of instantaneous, 24/7 news and social media reviews, years of impeccable food safety standards can be ruined by one tiny lapse.

But there is a guaranteed way to ensure that the pens used by your team pose no risk of foreign body contamination.

Prevention before detection.

Read on to find out more.

The Solution

Pen coil springs are virtually undetectable, not only by the human eye, but also by automated machines. Leading companies are now opting to use metal detectors or x-rays to identify pen fragments in food items where necessary, in addition to implementing measures to prevent such hazards before they arise.

How?

These organisations – which include Heinz, Bakkavor, Cargill, PepsiCo, Two Sisters, Moy Park, and XPO Logistics – are mandating the use of writing utensils which physically cannot fragment. In other words, they have made it company policy that their pens…

1) …are made of the strongest, most durable materials

2) …are completely shatterproof

3) …do not contain coil springs

Tried and tested across the complete food sector, Retreeva Global have designed an innovative range of near-unbreakable pens. It is a known fact that higher metal content makes factory pens more brittle, increasing the risk of the pen shattering under pressure, and, subsequently, product contamination.

As part of the Klipspringer Group, Retreeva’s choice of materials means that, unlike other options, these pens cannot shatter into unnoticeable, far-flung fragments.

By eliminating the risk of foreign body contamination on assembly lines, consistent product integrity is ensured. And yes, these pens are still produced to a very high standard of detectability. But, by choosing a robust, shatterproof, and spring-free pen which first prevents foreign body contamination, detection becomes a last resort.

In the unlikely occurrence of a mishap, this ensures that stray pens still have a very high chance of being rejected in finished product.

What Does BRCGS Food Safety Issue 9 Say?

It also offers compliance with the BRCGS’s increasingly strict food safety requirements, which state that:

“Portable handheld equipment, e.g. stationery items (pens, pencils etc.), mobile phones, tablets and similar portable items used in open product areas shall be controlled to minimise risk of physical contamination. The site may consider, for example:

  • excluding non-approved items
  • restricting the use to site-issued equipment
  • ensuring stationery items such as pens are designed without small external parts and are detectable by foreign body detection equipment, or are used in designated areas where contamination is prevented"

(BRCGS9 Ref. 4.9.6.2.)

If you’d like to learn more about the specific features of Retreeva’s much-acclaimed detectable pen range, read this comprehensive summary.

Alternatively, you can watch the below video explaining which type of detectable pen best suits your applications.


Culture in Hygiene: Webinar 2, Maximising the Hygiene Window

Maximising the Hygiene Window

All food businesses recognise the vital importance of the Hygiene Window to ensure cleanliness and drive compliance. But little guidance is ever offered on how to actually put this into action.

Based on the second webinar in the three-part ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series, this article addresses this issue. Following on from the previous webinar, in which three industry experts discussed hygiene team engagement and retention, this information-packed panel provides tangible advice on how to maximise the Hygiene Window.

This webinar is hosted by Alex Carlyon, a Director at Klipspringer with over 18 years of industry experience. Alex is joined by Nick Turner, a Director at FoodClean, and Andy Fletcher, a Technical Consultant with over 30 years’ experience in the food industry.

If you’re interested in a specific part of this webinar, browse the below menu to skip ahead to the section most relevant to your food safety needs:

1) Cleaning Efficiency

2) Labour Efficiency

3) Zone Segregation

Click below if you’d prefer to watch the full webinar and download the corresponding slides.

1) Cleaning Efficiency

In this section of the webinar, Nick and Andy delve into some of the biggest barriers to cleaning efficiency during the Hygiene Window. These vary from missing equipment to a lack of segregation. Nick and Andy then outline several solutions around cleaning equipment, storing tools, and protecting machinery, all of which saves costs, time, and non-conformances.

2) Labour Efficiency

Calculated in cost per minute, downtime is an expensive part of the Hygiene Window which teams must be made aware of. Nick and Andy strongly encourage bringing the hygiene team in on the journey to foster greater understanding and communication – as well as the value of ready-to-use equipment to reduce operator frustration and improve labour efficiency.

3) Zone Segregation

Thirdly, Alex draws on his extensive experience to discuss the role of zone segregation. His advice on mitigating the risks of in-process cleaning includes effective production scheduling, low pressure cleaning equipment, and mobile screening – which he provides visual examples of from a recent visit to an A.G. Barr Factory.

Watch below for more.

For more in-depth webinar content on this topics, take a look at the third episode in our ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our Hygiene Experts below, or by contacting us at: 01473 461 800.


    How Much Do Shadow Boards Really Cost?

    Breaking Down the Pricing of the Most Popular Organisational Tool in the Food Industry

    Since Klipspringer popularised shadow boards in 2011, they’ve steadily grown into an industry staple.

    Huge companies such as Two Sisters, Morrisons, Dominoes, Cranswick, Hovis, Domino’s, and Coca Cola have recognised the utility of shadow boards for improving hygiene standards, health and safety, and efficiency.

    Few refute these benefits. However, the price of shadow boards varies so much that our customers often ask us:

    “How much does a shadow board actually cost?”

    When addressing the cost of a product, most articles usually put something like ‘it depends’, entirely avoiding any sort of specific price point. And of course, the price of a shadow board is dependent on various factors, from size, to material, to fixing and mounting methods.

    However, this doesn’t mean we can’t provide you with a ballpark price of a shadow board by type. The three most common types of shadow board are tool boards, cleaning stations, and visual management boards.

    Below is a breakdown of each, with an approximate price range:

    Tool Boards

     Cleaning Stations (Wall Mounted/Magnetic)

    Cleaning Stations (Mobile/Free Standing)

    Visual Management

    Used to store a set of related tools and supplies

    Used to group hygiene-related apparatus for ease of access and usage/colour segregation. Price typically includes cleaning utensils.  

    Used to group hygiene-related apparatus for ease of access and usage/colour segregation. Price typically includes cleaning utensils.  

    Used to communicate essential information (e.g. procedures, maps, objectives)

    £100-£200

    £200-£300

    £400-£500

    £100-£200

    For specific examples and prices, click here to view our range of ‘Buy It Now’ cleaning stations.

    Three key considerations when breaking down the price of a shadow board are durability, customisation, and return on investment.

    Is the board made from high-quality, long-lasting material? Can you embellish your true company branding, moving beyond the basic name and logo? Will the board offer a strong ROI, for instance through improved audit scores, or boosted productivity in line with the 5S Principles?

    Klipspringer’s shadow boards meet all three criteria. Of course, we’re favourably biased towards our own products (wouldn’t you be worried if we weren’t?), but it is justified by our state-of-the-art print and production facilities, clarity of visual communication, and magnetic mounting options.

    But ours aren’t the only shadow boards on the market. We get that. Not only do we acknowledge that there are plenty of other capable manufacturers out there, but we’re open in admitting that, at Klipspringer, our shadow boards are more expensive than the industry bog-standard.

    Read on to find out why that is.

    Why Klipspringer?

    Most shadow boards are effective at storing tools, circumventing non-compliances, and maintaining hygiene standards.

    That said, not all shadow boards are created equal.

    These benefits depend on the quality of craftsmanship, reliability of mounting method, and efficacy of visual communication, all of which is determined by the Shadow Board Process.

    At Klipspringer, this process entails six separate steps.

    Firstly, the specification. We find out the customer’s precise requirements, including colour, equipment, and printed content.

    Secondly, the quotation. Within one working day of the initial enquiry, we send a personalised quotation summarising the customer’s needs.

    Thirdly, the order. The customer accepts the quotation and/or provides us with any necessary amendments.

    Fourthly, the proofing. Our design team complete the artwork proofs (see below), before sending them to the customer for final confirmation.

    Penultimately, the print. Using our cutting-edge print and production facilities, our in-house production team strive to complete the order promptly.

    Lastly, the delivery. Once printed, machined, and sealed, boards are despatched to the customer within 5-7 days (one of the quickest turnaround times in the industry), or even sooner if deadlines require.

    This carefully refined six-step process has resulted in Klipspringer’s firm establishment as the industry leader in bespoke shadow boards. But don’t just take our word for it – our boards have also been advocated by the likes of Tesco Maintenance, Bradley’s Metal Finishers, and Fulfil Food Solutions.

    Other key factors distinguishing our shadow boards from the crowd include…

    1) Five High-Quality Fixing Methods

    From sturdy direct mounts and stand offs, to free-standing frames and wheeled frames, to our much-admired magnetic shadow boards, we have an option to suit each circumstance.

    2) Long-Lasting, Lightweight Material

    While some continue to favour unsustainable foam-set options, our shadow boards are made of 6mm composite aluminium. A robust neoprene core is incorporated within the aluminium sheets, resulting in strong, water-resistant material that is safe to use in food environments, as well as being cost effective.

    3) Unmatched Equipment Colour Variety

    With 11 distinct colours, Klipspringer leads the industry in range of colour-coding utensils. Avoid cross-contamination and non-conformances with explicitly colour-coded equipment and corresponding shadow boards.

    4) Anti-Scuff Laminate

    To increase durability, we exclusively use heat-sealed, anti-scuff laminate, maximising adhesion (preventing any peeling) and ensuring your boards look good as new for years to come.

    5) Through-Board Hook System

    Last but certainly not least, we offer a through-board hook system. This entirely unique feature of Klipspringer shadow boards means that there are no hidden crevices or small parts. It ensures that your board is hygienic, easy to clean, and free of any foreign body risks.

     

    Where To Get Started

    Having overviewed the ballpark costs of various types of shadow boards, revealing Klipspringer’s six-step production process and unique features, this article has given a comprehensive breakdown of shadow board prices.

    If you want more information, take a look at our shadow board overview page, or contact our experienced shadow board team: 01473 461 800.

    If you already know which shadow board option you require, check out our ‘Buy It Now’ range, or fill out our Shadow Board Enquiry Form for a free quotation.


    Klipspringer Launch Brand-New Range of Production Knives

    Knives are an integral part of any food production workplace. Used in a wide range of contexts – from preparing fruit and vegetables to filleting, jointing, and deboning meat and fish – production knives must be grippy, rigid, and, above all, long-lastingly sharp. However, with knife-related injuries sending more than 1 million workers to hospital every year, ensuring that cutting utensils are safe and of the highest quality is extremely important. Enter Klipspringer’s latest launch: a brand-new range of production knives, designed to cater for all applications in food manufacturing environments.

    This exciting new range is divided into three main categories:

    1) Ergo Series Knives

    Manufactured from high-quality stainless steel, either Molibdenum or Vanadium, the Ergo Series blades are corrosion-resistant, and offer their user exceptional cutting power. These knives are structurally robust, with their hard inner plastic component and long-lasting edge making them able to withstand intensive use.

    What’s more, the Ergo Series utilises a Bi-injection handle manufacturing method. This differentiated colour handle system allows each knives to be categorised by its specific purpose, eliminating any possibility of cross-contamination between foods, while offering a grippy, cushioned handle design for maximum comfort and ease of use.

    Current models available in the Ergo Series include Breaking Knives, Butchers Knives, Boning Knives, Cimeter Knives, Stick Knives, Fillet Knives and Bead/Pastry Knives.

    2) Performance Series Knives

    Next, there’s the Performance Series – a range of long-lasting blades ideal for butchery, fish filleting, vegetable prep, and a vast array of other applications. These knives are manufactured from SANDVIK12C27 Steel, and have an ergonomic design carefully tailored to give comfort and control for extended use. This is supplemented by a comfortable handle, the material of which provides extra grip, even when wet.

    But what truly sets the Performance Series apart from other industry knives as a true ally of professionals in the food processing industry? Antimicrobiality – contained in the handle material are cutting-edge antibacterial properties that prevent the growth and propagation of bacteria and microorganisms.

    Current models available in the Performance Series include Butcher Knives, Boning Knives, Skinning Knives, Cimeter Knives and breaking knives.

    3) Essential Series Knives & Accessories

    Designed for more general, multi-purpose contexts, the Essential Series knives are similarly strong, sharp, and have excellent corrosion resistance to prevent rusting. The soft rubber material on the handle’s surface allows for a smooth, tight grip, and, again, a colour-coded handle system prevents cross-contamination.

    The Essential Series is also unique in offering first-rate knife accessories. In particular, it showcases a Knife Sharpening Steel (pictured below) made from carbon steel, with a protective layer of hard chrome plating, and a Polyethene handle – a hygienic surface material recommended for the food industry.

    Current models available in the Essential Series include Paring Knives, Serrated Knives and Knife Sharpening Steel.


    For more information about these latest additions to the Klipspringer range, feel free to contact our team: 01473 461 800.


    View the Klipspringer range of knives here

    Culture in Hygiene: Webinar 1

    Hygiene Team Engagement and Retention

    Culture in food safety is one of the most crucial aspects to guaranteeing unwavering compliance. In fact, a lacklustre food safety culture plan was identified as one of the eight most common non-conformities by the BRCGS in their recently updated issue of the Global Standards of Food Safety.

    For that reason, our team at Klipspringer decided it was time to address Culture in Hygiene across a three-part webinar series.

    Hosted by Alex Carlyon, a Director at Klipspringer with over 18 years of industry experience, the first part of this series focuses on how to engage with and retain an efficient, high-functioning hygiene team. Today, Alex is joined by Phil May, Technical Support & Hygiene Manager at leading manufacturers Greencore, and Lars Turner, Food Industry Specialist at cleaning solution providers FoodClean.

    Interested in a specific part of this webinar?

    Browse the below menu to skip ahead to the section most relevant to your food safety needs:

    1) Protecting Your Team

    2) Equipment Choice

    3) Induction and Training

    4) Sustaining Good Practice

    5) Ongoing Process Refinement

    Click below if you’d prefer to watch the full webinar.

    1) Protecting Your Team

    Amid staff shortages and a smaller pool of skilled workers, ensuring that team members are safe at work is an absolute MINIMUM requirement for maintaining an effective and loyal team.

    In this section of the webinar, Lars and Phil provide several tangible examples to demonstrate the value of an operator-first approach. They discuss how labour retention is always higher among a well-protected and engaged team – and the positive economic and environmental impact this can have for food businesses.

    2) Equipment Choice

    Each year, hundreds of thousands of workers suffer from equipment-inflicted injuries. Equipment construction and maintenance was the third most common category of non-conformance identified by the BRCGS in their abovementioned Issue 9

    As explained by Phil and Lars, reduction in injury is just one facet to improving culture in hygiene. Watch below as they dissect the higher motivation and increased lifespan of equipment resulting from an ‘operator-owned’ model of workplace production.

    3) Induction and Training

    Thirdly, Alex and Phil delve into the importance of the initial onboarding process in developing an outstanding hygiene culture.

    Alex addresses the issue of high staff turnover – a common problem with many workers currently coming through recruitment agencies. Recognising that training is an ongoing process and making Critical Control Points (CCPs) highly visual is also suggested.

    4) Sustaining Good Practice

    Creating and implementing these processes is all well and good, but their long-term impact will be limited if they are not sustained. Drawing on several visual examples, Alex illustrates how to prolong and consolidate hygiene processes through adaptability.

    5) Ongoing Process Refinement

    Lastly, Lars and Phil return to offer valuable insights about ongoing process refinement.

    Contrary to popular belief, they recommend a culture which encourages workers to challenge the status quo, as the most powerful improvements often come from unexpected sources. Root Cause Analysis, cross-functional teams, and the 5-Whys are also mentioned.

    For more in-depth webinar content on this topics, take a look at the second episode in our ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series.

    Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our Hygiene Experts below, or contact us at: 01473 461 800.


    Nine Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wireless Monitoring System

    Across the food and beverage industry, the benefits of wireless temperature monitoring are well-known. Innovative monitoring systems are proven to provide highly accurate, real-time temperature data, support food safety compliance, and cut costs of loading refrigerated food transportation. BRCGS standards also require the implementation and control of process monitoring to ensure that products are manufactured according to industry specifications.   

    These benefits have been applied across a wide range of industries, including:  

    • Food and beverage production 
    • Pharmaceutical and medical 
    • Hospitals and care 
    • Food service and hospitality 
    • Storage and logistics 
    • Laboratories and pharmacies  
    • Industry and manufacturing 
    • Food retail 

    However, there is much uncertainty around the best form of wireless monitoring system. At Klipspringer, our partner and customers frequently ask us for advice on which system to choose. Instead of simplistically recommending one of our systems, regardless of their specific temperature monitoring applications, we decided that providing all of the relevant information best enables them to make the right choice.  

    That’s why we wrote this article. Drawing on our two decades’ experience as industry leaders in modernised data logging, it is based on clips from a webinar we recently hosted in collaboration with Quorn Foods.

    The topic is nine key factors to consider before choosing a wireless monitoring system. Navigate the below menu to skip straight to the section most relevant to your needs…

    You can also watch the full webinar below:

    1) Parameters

    It’s difficult to order each factor by importance, but the parameter – or parameters – measured by the system you opt for is one of the most fundamental aspects.  

    As you begin your hunt for the perfect wireless monitoring system, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is: what exactly do I want to monitor?  

    If your answer is temperature only, most basic monitoring systems will cover your needs, even simple Wi-Fi loggers found on sites like Amazon. However, if your answer is more complex than just temperature, other options may be more suitable.  

    Do you, for example, want to measure both temperature and humidity (rH)? What about energy, concentration (ppm), or even door contact? As the number of measurables increases, so does the complexity of system required.  

    Here is a list of the most common measurable parameters: 

    • Temperature  
    • Humidity  
    • CO2 
    • Energy 
    • Pressure 
    • Concentration 
    • Door contact 
    • Data from advanced plant/engineering sensors 

    While there are countless systems that are custom-built for specific measurables, with advanced, high-end systems it is possible to measure and set up alarms for virtually any parameter.  

    2) Hardware

    Having established your required parameters, the next three factors all relate to the component setup of your system. Component setup is an essential early step in the monitoring system decision-making process, but it often gets overlooked.  

    Hardware is the first of these factors.  

    The biggest delineation in deciding your hardware is whether you require a physical base station, complete with display and sounds, or a non-physical system which operates entirely digitally.  

    Careful consideration of the working conditions your hardware will have to withstand will also be essential. For example, will your system’s sensors need to be waterproof? Does your system need to be equipped with heat-resistant casing? Or require particularly long-lasting battery life, as it needs to be placed in an inaccessible area?  

    Finally, appraising your probe options is another essential step. Will you need to measure air temperature or product temperature? If so, choose a probe that corresponds with those applications.  

    3) Data Storage Access

    Storage access is one of the most crucial, yet most misunderstood, factors to consider when choosing a wireless monitoring system. It is frequently conflated with sensor connection type – addressed below – but data storage access is its own independent category.  

    This category can be split into two options: network-based storage, and cloud-based storage. Many see network-based storage as more secure because it doesn’t rely on external servers. There are also no ongoing cloud licensing fees.  

    On the other hand, cloud-based storage offers access to data from any location, at any time. This makes it the ideal solution for those looking to implement wireless monitoring systems at multiple site locations, while accessing the data from one central location.  

    4) Sensor Connection Type

    Equally crucial is the type of sensor connector. The majority of wireless monitoring systems use one of three main types: 

    a) Wi-Fi 

    Wi-Fi-based sensor connectors are excellent, if your site has strong coverage throughout. However, in large chillers or freezers it is difficult and expensive to guarantee such Wi-Fi coverage. Because a password is required to gain access, it can result in a loss of sensor connection if this password is changed by IT. Higher battery consumption is also an issue with Wi-Fi-based systems.  

    b) Bluetooth 

    Bluetooth options require a reading device to be nearby at all times. This often constitutes a mobile phone with a downloaded data tracking app – a simple but reliable system, although battery life does drain significantly.  

    c) Radio Frequency 

    Radio frequency, or RF, is the strongest form of wireless data transfer. In most scenarios, radio systems use a frequency of 433mHz, which is used for longer-distance transmissions across large open spaces, or 868mHz, which is better suited for shorter distances with more obstructions, such as walls. When asked by customers, we are likeliest to recommend radio-based systems because of their stronger signal, lower battery consumption, and more reliable overall connectivity.  

    5) Installation

    As with any installation, the most pressing consideration is whether or not your site/s require professional support, or if you want to install the system yourself.  

    At Klipspringer, we pride ourselves on offering one of the fastest delivery turnaround times in the industry – the entire monitoring system is typically delivered within 2-3 days. For those requiring professional installation services, leading companies will send expert technicians on site. This process usually lasts between 3-4 weeks.  

    6) Alarm Type

    When looking out for the best monitoring solutions, here’s a tip: look out for the systems that issue alarms by the widest range of mediums.  

    Why? In the event of an alarm, speedy and decisive action is immediately required. This cannot happen if you are not instantly notified about the situation – hence the urgent need for alarms to be sent by phone call, SMS, email, and a variety of other methods, rather than riskily depending on just one.  

    7) Calibration

    There are three questions regarding calibration you should ask yourself before purchasing any wireless monitoring system.  

    Firstly, do you require UKAS calibration for audit requirements? If so, only UKAS accredited organisations are able to supply this service, which narrows your options to those upper-tier companies.  

    Secondly, will your system require periodic onsite recalibration? If so, take note of the costs involved in this process, how frequently your system will require recalibration, and whether your potential monitoring system supplier offers this service.  

    Thirdly, what is the location of the sensors? For example, if the sensors have to be mounted on the ceiling, this makes it altogether more difficult to access them for recalibration and servicing.  

    8) Cost

    Consult the below table for an outline of the potential costs of wireless monitoring systems, based on two generalised scenarios: 

    Factors

    Scenario 1

    Scenario 2

    Size of facility

    Small

    Large

    No. of monitoring points

    <5

    >25

    Parameters

    Temperature only (-20 to 25°C)

    Multiple parameters; mainly high temperature, some humidity (rH)

    Accessibility to sensor position

    Easy access

    Easy access

    Onsite installation and annual service/calibration

    Not required

    Professional installation and ongoing technical support

    UKAS calibration

    Not required

    Yes

    Alarming

    Basic

    Advanced

    Pricing guide

    £500

    £8,000-£10,000

    As seen above, differences in these factors can cause massive range in the price of a system. Read on to learn about the final factor to consider when choosing a wireless monitoring systems 

    9) Ongoing Support

    Last but far from least is ongoing support. In their haste to acquire the first system that crosses their path, people often overlook the vital importance of continual expert advice, long after any purchase of a wireless monitoring system has been made.  

    While sites like Amazon offer a wide range of logging systems, there is no on-site support available regarding calibration, software updates, or troubleshooting.  

    The current market is flooded with wireless monitoring systems. While many of these are perfectly acceptable, most are designed to cover multiple industries. At Klipspringer, we’ve spent years refining wireless monitoring systems to meet site requirements that are specifically focused on the food industry.  

    Listen below as Kenny Edwards, Quality Manager at Quorn Foods, outlines how wireless site monitoring provided tremendous value for him and his team.  

    Our knowledgeable, friendly team offer unequalled customer support, and our systems – such as the much-acclaimed WatchmanOne – excel at real-time monitoring across a range of parameters.  

    For any wireless monitoring system-related enquiries, feel free to contact our support team at: 01473 461 800.