10 things to consider when designing a future food factory

10 Things To Be Consider When Designing A Food Factory

Head of Process

Explore key considerations for designing a future food factory, focusing on hygiene, safety, and sustainability to meet today's environmental challenges.

December 1, 2022


As with any food factory construction project, securing planning permission is a major hurdle to building a new food factory. Understanding whether a site is suitable is one of the first important steps that must be undertaken.

It is vital to ensure that there is space to grow free from restraint, so that the factory can be expanded to meet increasing demand in the future if required.

Supply chain

Central to the issue of location is where your food factory will fit into the wider supply chain. Minimising the distance travelled throughout supply chains to reduce logistical carbon emissions can have a huge influence on the environmental impact of the new factory and optimise efficiency.

Our team of expert food factory designers also consider where there are opportunities for circular supply chains within the locality. For example, are there any opportunities for your waste streams to be utilised by other manufacturers?

Our associate director, Nigel Devine, discussed this topic in a recent blog discussing the valorisation of the plant-based protein sector.

Labour availability

The UK’s food and beverage sector is just one which has faced a labour shortage over recent years as high levels of employment and Brexit reduce the number of workers across agriculture, processing, manufacturing and logistics.

Developing a clear understanding of the best location to maximise the availability of both skilled and unskilled labour is vital to a successful food factory.

Working environment

Central to attracting workers to your food factory is also creating an attractive working environment and this is an often overlooked factor in food factory design.

Key staff amenities such as changing facilities, offices, breakout spaces and canteens can make a massive difference to the work environment for staff.


When designing a food factory, you must consider the local network for key utilities such as water, electricity and gas. Factoring spare capacity into your plans or ensuring that your systems are extendable can help to overcome any potential shortages.

We discussed water usage in a previous blog, but it is a key consideration in food factory design. Consider whether it is cost effective to factor water re-use into the design from the outset and check whether the local authority can deal with waste water.

In some factories pre-treatment of waste water is cost-effective, but this has a further constraint on space.

Building materials

One major hygiene consideration is the building fabric. Establishing a hygienic environment is essential to a safe manufacturing process and, although some designs feature a second internal ‘box’, the building façade can sometimes be used as the hygiene barrier.

It is also vital to allow for enough loading within the building frame to allow for secondary support for the food factory.

Future use

Planning ahead to understand the potential future uses for the site are essential to sustainable food factory design.

We’ve already discussed incorporating space to grow within the design but consider how the whole site or individual areas could be adapted for alternative use in the future.


Unsurprisingly there are a number of key safety factors to consider in a food factory design, whether it’s specific safety requirements, such as BS9999 for fire safety, or environmental permits and waste water discharge consents.

Careful planning is also essential to provide safe flows of staff, goods, traffic and HGVs to the site. Not only can this help to keep the potential for accidents to a minimum, it also helps to optimise the efficiency of the whole site.


As with any construction project in a period of inflation, keeping control of costs is far from straightforward.

Establishing a realistic budget control at the design stage can help to mitigate any unplanned costs, however, maintaining a contingency is vital to keep the project on track in case of any unforeseen events.

Future food factory proofing

We are currently seeing record levels of inflation and the cost of services will only continue to increase. Building a future food factory efficiently is crucial to managing costs and adapting to technological advancements.

Ensuring that environmental and technological improvements are integrated into the factory design is key. For example, anticipate the integration of electric vehicles (EV) in the supply chain to significantly reduce environmental impact, and ensure that EV charging capabilities are included.

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