According to Baking & Snack’s 2019 Equipment Trends Survey, bakers have indicated a positive outlook toward capital spending, but where are the dollars heading as the International Baking Industry Exposition approaches in September? They’re for the benefit and longevity of their business, noted Editor Joanie Spencer in an exclusive report in the publication’s February issue.

Specifically, the leading goals for equipment purchases include lowering labor costs, increasing capacity for existing products, bolstering production speed/capacity and accommodating for lack of labor.

“There’s a larger proportion of bakeries more sincerely focused on those categories for their end goals than we’ve seen in the past,” explained Marjorie Hellmer, president of Kansas City-based Cypress Research, which conducted the survey.

Overall, she added, bakers’ investments seem more strategic and more proactive than reactive.

“They’re not responding to something outside their business; they’re improving business from the inside out,” she said.

Moreover, the report stated there’s a clear vision behind how bakers are allocating dollars. This year, for instance, no companies identified food security or sustainability as 2019 goals for equipment spending. This doesn’t mean that these initiatives are no longer important. Rather, Ms. Hellmer said, it more likely means they’re issues bakers have under control or ones for which new equipment won’t likely solve.

“They’re looking for equipment that can help them reach strategic goals,” she observed. “They’re not so much looking at equipment from a strictly operational perspective — though it obviously has to get the job done — as they are the role equipment plays in the future of the business.”