The food and drink manufacturing sector currently ranks fourth of the eight ‘roadmap’ sectors identified by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as responsible for two-thirds of industrial emissions.
Only iron and steel, oil refining and chemicals produce more CO2 emissions annually.
Collectively, the sector has made steady progress towards decarbonisation. Despite factors, such as automation and the growth in frozen and chilled food increasing consumption, overall better energy efficiency has seen consumption for the sector remain at approximately the same level.
Coupled with energy costs being particularly low compared with other manufacturing processes, generally only between 2% and 10% of total consumption, some food and drink manufacturers have not moved as quickly as those in other sectors.
This is in part exacerbated by the need to maintain stringent levels of product quality and safety, reducing appetite for risk in terms of adopting new technologies. High upfront costs and increasingly long lifecycles of production equipment further contribute to this inertia.
A number of influential bodies within the industry have laid out their own objectives for greater improvement.
The Food and Drink Association is targeting a 55% reduction in emissions for their collective members by 2025, having already met its 2020 target five years early.
The Scotch Whisky Industry and Dairy UK have laid out similar voluntary and challenging targets to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Rapid decarbonisation on the road to ultimately achieving net-zero has been categorically shown to be possible, but it requires bold steps on the part of manufacturers.
BEIS’s Industrial Decarbonisation and Energy Efficiency Roadmap identified six key areas to address for food manufacturing, placing responsibility on both Government and manufacturers.
While the recommendations are applied to a collaborative effort between Government and the food and drink sector, it also lays out the framework of an effective pathway for individual manufacturers seeking to lay out their own long-term sustainability plans.
With over 450 manufacturing clients across the UK, Inenco are market leaders when it comes to energy efficiency and sustainability expertise in the food and drink sector. To find out how we can help you, contact us on 08451 46 36 26.