While eliminating downtime and improving food safety and employee safety topped the survey, other issues such as designing more energy-efficient equipment ranked high among bakers’ concerns. Specifically, bakers indicated they are looking for equipment — from ovens, boilers and oxidizers to pumps, blowers and air compressors, plus more — that is affordable and energy-efficient. In exclusive research funded by BEMA and Baking & Snack, they gave this challenge a 6.2 rating on a 7-point scale where 7 means very valuable.

Bakers also are searching for future solutions such as advanced real-time sensors to detect foreign materials; automatic clean-in-place systems with 100% assurance; and equipment that can recover heat and other sources of energy that can then be reused, stored for future use or fed back to the utility grid.

When it comes to who should be responsible for investing in these future solutions, both bakers and suppliers responding to an online survey said the costs should be shared evenly between the two parties.