Energy-efficient air compressors are among the measures being installed by some within the food sector as they seek to offset rising energy costs.

Food Manufacture reports the actions of some industry operators, in light of a 7% rise in energy prices in 2012 and an expected further 22% rise in costs by 2020.

The figures are from the Lorien Energy Index, which noted a 12% increase in gas tariffs in the fourth quarter of 2012 alone, along with a 5% hike in electricity bills.

According to Food Manufacture, some UK companies are taking action to overcome rising costs – including fixing their energy tariffs in advance, and using the funds saved to invest in new machinery such as energy-efficient air compressors.

Alan McInnes, technical and operations director at BV Dairy in Shaftesbury, says forward-planning was a key element in allowing his company to adapt to modern-day energy prices.

“We bought our energy up to the middle of 2014 six months ago, when prices were a little lower than they are today,” he explains.

“This has given us the time to install energy-efficient air compressors and bring on-stream a new chilled water plant, which also has heat recovery.”

With an anaerobic digestion plant now also providing 30% of its energy needs, the dairy is now insulated against future energy price shocks.