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How is tech constantly evolving the food industry?

When you think about food, technology probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, developments in technology over recent years have significantly changed how we produce and get our food through a variety of different applications and processing techniques.

In fact, according to a recent report from ING, technology helps food manufacturers produce more efficiently for a growing world population.

As of right now, there are approximately 7.5 billion people in the world, which means that demand for food is growing every year. Through the use of technology to improve food processing, shelf life and food safety can be greatly improved.

Here are some of the ways in which technology is feeding the constant evolution of the food industry.

Robotics and machines

When we think about the impact of the robotics and machines on the food industry, it becomes clear that the consequences are quite significant.

Starting with efficiency, it’s a fact that what has previously been done by humans is now done by robots within seconds. By processing and packaging more food in less time, robots have scaled up production with the growing demand from customers.

By reducing the amount of labour required in both production and packaging, robotics and machines have aided in keeping the cost of food down, even in situations when long and flexible processing and sorting methods are required.

There are tons of benefits but the most viable of all of them is quality control. The result of machinery is that there is no loss of quality and no risk of contamination with consistent processes in all food processing areas.

Apps

Food delivery mobile applications and online ordering systems for restaurants have become mainstream because it saves time and energy for clients who can get their meals delivered to their doorsteps. The establishments associated with these applications also get a range of benefits and often see boosts in customers after getting introduced via these apps.

On top of this, reservation options are lessening the waiting time for customers when they plan to eat out of the house. These mobile apps can place the people in a queue so that they can reach the venue later and get themselves a seat. Reserving a table at a restaurant becomes easy with these options that are now available.

Certain companies like Crosstown accept orders 24/7 for delivery and collection across Greater London, Cambridge and nationwide. All a customer needs to do is enter their postcode and select whether they’d like their order delivered or if they’ll collect it, giving them the freedom and convenience that people crave in these modern times.

 

Drones

Drones have and continue to help evolve the food industry right from the first step in the food chain – agriculture. Without the right conditions, we could suffer a shortage of crops. Believe it or not, drones can help.

These drones have high-quality cameras and long-range controls so that an agriculturalist can fly one across fields to check on the state of the crops. Infrared technology can show how much water or heat a plant retains, too. Because drones can cover many miles, they’re the perfect monitoring solution for farms.

It can be almost impossible to manually monitor each piece of equipment in a production line building, so drones can optimise this process and keep employees safe, allowing them to respond accordingly when an issue is picked up. Drones can also protect workers because they can fly into hard-to-reach places with ease, so workers don’t have to put themselves in danger to check out a potential problem.

Lastly, drones are an innovative resource for delivery, too. Although they’re not widely used at this current time, some businesses are adapting to drone delivery, especially pizza places. The main challenges concern delivering food at the right temperature. However, the integration of drones is a powerful addition to the food industry and one that is sure to evolve it even further in coming years.

Packaging and waste

Innovations in smart transit evolve the food industry in many ways. A team from the Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Switzerland has developed sensors to monitor the state of fruit as it travels from farm to store.

This sensor is designed to record the experience of the fruit as closely as possible, to ensure it remains the same size and composition as a fruit. The sensor itself provides constant feedback on the temperature in the contained, because even tiny changes are capable of significantly changing the speed that crops ripen at. This not only has a big impact on food wastage, but it creates variance in the use-by date on the produce.

Over the past few decades, the increase in customer demand has also led to advances in food packaging.

‘Active packaging’ gained popularity in the 1990s and benefitted both the manufacturer and the customer. This type of packaging basically meant better preservation, extended shelf-life, reduced food waste and easier use for customers. With the use of technology, active packaging has been developed. Here are some examples of active packaging:

  • Sachets placed inside of packaging to preserve food
  • Packaging films and absorbers to eliminate unwanted odours and moisture
  • Materials with temperature control and insulation so that food can be heated and eaten directly from the packaging

How climate change has an impact

The welfare of the planet is increasingly causing concern among thousands of people, all of whom need food for everyday living. Using recent reports as evidence, we can see how numerous people are choosing plant-based diets and actively expecting and seeking more sustainability from manufacturers. Creating transparency and proving sustainability in the production process is only possible with a digital transformation within the food industry.

While using plastic-free straws, cups and plates is a growing trend, some countries have banned plastic cutlery altogether. The next step for food and beverage companies is to adapt their packaging to this trend and come up with alternative solutions for packaging systems.

When it’s obvious that old methods are no longer working, we must rely on the digital world to help us find and implement the solutions. Needless to say, this has certainly been the case in the food sector over the years.