In this next instalment of our Industry Spotlight series, we pick up from where we left off from our previous AgriTech blog, and take a look at the key technologies shaping the food production industry.

Having operated extensively in the food and beverage industry for a number of clients, IBA can attest that recent technological advancements have played a key role in enhancing food production – from improving pest management to final stage productions –  and will be crucial in taking a previously traditional paper-based industry into the digital age. 

According to an ING Report, food companies systematically try to implement technology into their production in order to become more competitive and manufacture more efficiently. The telling use of technology can help businesses to optimize their product as regards to taste, smell, look as well as durability. 

Let’s have a closer look at how emerging technologies is impacting the food industry: 

1. Health and hygiene under the tech spotlight for improved food safety

Food, as a sensitive product, must be produced under a high control rate. Sensors located on the production line can constantly monitor the conditions in which food is stored, cooked and packaged. Abdulgaffar Doddamani highlights how sensors can be carefully calibrated to the food under review and send the collected data to the server in order to keep an updated status as well as proof for any investigation. But don’t forget the need to take care of those pesky pests. Ecolab, for example leverages innovative technologies in order to run smarter pest management with its intelligent rodent monitoring system and data-driven pest management strategy based on remote monitoring devices.  

2. Alternative and sustainable proteins 

Sustainable proteins are an alternative protein source to animal food such as eggs, milk, or meat that leverage novel food technologies such as plant-based, cell-based, and fermentation. With most current proteins not sustainable, today’s customers now often look for alternatives – encouraging companies to rethink the entire protein chain.

The European food tech landscape industry reached (US$3.2 billion) in 2020 – where much of the investment was driven by the alternative protein sector and novel foodservice technologies also saw a major step-up in tech investment with alternatives for proteins, and 3D food printing enabling diet and alternative food personalization. For instance, SavorEat is an Israeli start-up that develops plant-based meat using a combination of chef robots, proprietary 3D printing, and non-GMO production. The use of this type of technology reduces complexity and food cost production as well as allows brands to personalize their food products.

3. Digital transformation is keeping the hamburgers on the table

The emergence of IoT and cloud computing is having a significant impact on food and beverage companies, especially in the catering and food manufacturing sectors. Take Aryzta – perhaps you didn’t know but virtually every McDonald’s hamburger, cheeseburger, or chicken sandwich is served up on an Aryzta bun. Aryzta, after digitalization and cloud implementation, is now growing its B2B e-commerce business to provide its clients with a smoother order placing experience and to allow the business to integrate with customers supply and delivery requirements in order to ensure that no-one is without their hamburger!

4. Pizzas – built by robots

Many companies, even from the smallest enterprises, focus on the automation of processes related to packaging, palletization, efficiency, speed improvement, and much more. Collaborative industrial robotics is extremely beneficial in many application areas along the entire food supply chain, including production, processing, and distribution. Picnic Pizza System for instance, offers believe it or not, fully automated pizza assembly. The whole process is done by a machine where customized ingredients can be chosen. The business raised $16.3 million and has plans to install its robots in schools, stadiums, and hospitals. 

Emerging new technologies in the food industry are noticeable and constantly progressing – from food safety through to a final production and into the customer’s hands. As Americans are finishing off their turkey and pumpkin pie and the rest of the world looks towards the upcoming holiday season, the role of technology in this sector just grows and grows.

Angelika Winiarz is PR Executive at IBA International.

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