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Sustainability as a top priority

The food and beverage industry in Central and Eastern Europe is undergoing a profound transformation: In addition to digitalization, sustainability  criteria in particular are changing the requirements for future-oriented plants in the industry. Interest in sustainable technologies will continue to grow rapidly in the coming years, says Maja Vrcelj, Food and Beverage Market Leader Central & Eastern Europe at Bilfinger Tebodin.

How will the food and beverage industry in Central and Eastern Europe develop in the years ahead? What are the challenges?

The prospects for the food and beverage industry in Central and Eastern Europe are very promising. Geopolitical changes and the increasing shortening of supply chains in Europe are also contributing factors. The strongest growth in food and beverage output in Central and Eastern Europe was recorded in Poland, as a regional leader in market size and number of investment sites, along with Romania and Hungary. It is clear that sustainability has become a top priority – not only in greenfield projects but especially in brownfield projects, which currently dominate the market.

What are the consequences of this development?

Nearly all manufacturers in the industry are intensively addressing the question of how to make net zero operation of their plants possible. Investments are increasingly being judged by the extent to which they contribute to decarbonization. We see that energy transition and energy efficiency projects are picking-up momentum – we just recently finished an energy assessment and master planning project for a leading international beverage producer, and we have several similar projects in the pipeline. Solutions for thermal insulation, optimization of waste heat utilization and innovative ideas for energy conservation are attracting a great deal of interest.

Does this require extensive changes to the design of industrial plants?

Each project is different and its complexity is derived from goals and ambitions set by the client. In some cases, it requires considerable interventions in existing structures and processes, but also makes it possible to put innovative technologies such as deep processing to use. Sustainability initiatives are no longer just a buzzword, but a major area of capital spend. The food and beverage industry is also required to switch to sustainable packaging, which poses considerable challenges compared to other industries due to the strict hygiene regulations. The industry’s already high interest in sustainable technologies will therefore increase further in the coming years.

How does Bilfinger Tebodin support these initiatives? Which manufacturers does Bilfinger Tebodin work with?

Bilfinger Tebodin provides support throughout the entire life cycle of a plant: from initial business idea with consulting and project management through engineering and construction management as well as commissioning and start-up of the plant. With our multidisciplinary teams and our extensive expertise in the food and beverage industry, we are able to plan and execute highly efficient industrial plants as well as their modifications and improvements. Our key clients on the market are international food, beverage and agro industrial manufacturers who we support in multiple countries in the region as well as worldwide.

Contact in case of questions:

Maja Vrcelj
Food and Beverage - Market Leader Central and Eastern Europe

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