Digital Transformation in the Food and Beverage Industry

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Technology is transforming the food and beverage industry in big ways. It’s changing how we get, make, and move food, helping to feed a growing world population now over 7.5 billion. According to an ING report, tech like robotics, data science, and new packaging methods are helping companies make food better and safer. This tech merge means a future where food is high-quality and easy to get, solving many of today’s food supply problems.

Automation and Robotics

In the food and beverage industry, automation and robotics represent a shift towards efficiency, quality, and affordability. Machinery integrations drive down costs associated with keeping food fresh and boost productivity levels.

With over 30,000 robots currently employed in the European food sector and robot density per 10,000 employees increasing from 62 in 2013 to 84 in 2017, this trend shows the industry’s evolving. Countries like Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Italy are leading in robot quantity with widespread adoption across the continent.

One of the more revolutionary applications of robotic technology in the food industry addresses worker safety and efficiency. In 2016, a tech company unveiled a robotics program for the butchery sector. The initiative could reduce workplace injuries by employing robots to handle the more challenging cuts of meat.

AI-Powered Customer Service

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing customer interactions, such as McDonald’s self-serving kiosks. AI-powered +s (IoT) technology provides real-time monitoring of production processes. Companies can optimize operations, improve traceability, and comply with food safety regulations. Whether it’s monitoring temperature during transportation or tracking inventory, IoT plays a big role.

Blockchain for Transparency and Safety

Blockchain technology is transforming food safety and transparency. By tracking the origin of ingredients throughout the supply chain, consumers gain confidence in the safety and quality of their food. From farms/factories to wholesale food distributors to store shelves, blockchain ensures secure information and untampered products.  

In partnership with IBM, Walmart maintains its Food Traceability Initiative using the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain platform. This initiative allows Walmart to track the lifespan of products, ensuring food safety and reducing waste. Notably, they can trace the origin of U.S. perishables, such as mangoes, within a mere 2.2 seconds.

Augmented Reality (AR) Dining Experiences

AR isn’t just for gaming—it’s enhancing dining experiences, too. Imagine scanning a menu with your phone and seeing detailed information about each dish, including sourcing details, nutritional facts, and allergen warnings. AR bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds, making dining more interactive and informative.

In 2018, Domino’s introduced a feature called “New Pizza Chef.” Customers can create their dream pizza using the Domino’s mobile app. They choose crust, cheese, swirls, and virtual toppings. The best part? They can preview their creation in AR before placing the order. The pizza they receive looks exactly like the one they designed.

Mobile Apps and Online Orderings

Mobile apps like Doordash, which has group order and scheduled delivery options, allow consumers to order food, track deliveries, and explore menus effortlessly. Whether it’s curbside pickup, home delivery, or shipment orders from a wholesale food service, technology simplifies the entire process.

To compare mobile apps and online, online orders placed via web platforms tend to have 58% higher average check sizes than those placed via mobile apps. However, mobile app users order 30-40% more frequently than web orders.

Integrate Food Technology with Distributors

Wholesale food distributors act as intermediaries, facilitating the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, such as predictive analytics for demand forecasting and efficient supply chain management. 

By leveraging their networks, they can introduce producers to innovative packaging solutions that extend shelf life and reduce waste. Their large-scale operations allow for the testing and refining IoT systems for inventory tracking, ensuring these technologies are both scalable and effective before widespread implementation. Contact Atlantic Dominion Distributors for more information.