Digital Transformation in the Food Industry

 

What is the impact of digital transformation in the Food industry? The food industry has been revolutionized by digital, from production processes to distribution, and from data-driven marketing, the disruptive role of social media, to the frontier of personalization. 

 

Digital Transformation in the Food industry has had a huge impact on Food & Beverage companies, starting from the very mechanisms of production, which, while they are the least visible to the public, they are decisive, because this is where it all starts. 

That's why we as a SalesBridge have decided to start unique partnership with Space Digital company in order to provide comprehensive service for our our partners in Food Industry. 

In a few years, we have passed (or are passing) from very mechanical and “old” processes and machinery, to the increasingly massive implementation of Artificial Intelligence, IoT (Internet of Things), Blockchain and Cloud Computing.

In other words, we have moved from traditional factories to ones that are increasingly “intelligent” and interconnected, that continuously collect data, which is invaluable for optimizing all phases of production, but also for predictive maintenance operations, for managing emergencies, and for increasing quality.

 

From production we then move on to distribution; even here, digital has changed most everything. The perishable nature of food and drink make distribution a central challenge. Here too, digital solutions revolve around maximum inter-connection, the collection of an enormous amount of data, their deep and intelligent interpretation (Big Data), but also the design of dedicated applications tailored to the needs of the individual company.

Naturally, all of this has significant repercussions not only on manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers.  This translates into reduced costs, increased efficiency, and improved quality. 

In short, digitization applied in the production and distribution phases, is a huge issue. But now, we’ll transition to the side that concerns the relationship between the industry and its customers. 

Blockchain, VR+AR, cybersecurity, AI + Machine Learning 

Blockchain is a cloud-based digital system that can function as a decentralized database for the food industry. The system allows actors connected to the blockchain to access all data shared by all actors in the chain. This technology has the potential to also strengthen trust between actors, since the data uploaded cannot be manipulated or changed retroactively. Furthermore, any actions on the database are recorded and tied to the actor. Blockchain in Food Industry could be deployed in supply chain, loyalty programs, financial transactions between parties. Recent deployments: Walmart, Carrefour, Nestle, Maersk, Amazon.

Cybersecurity Solutions the pandemic has forced businesses to operate remotely, expanding their attack surfaces and opening new doors for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities. On top of that, food producers have had to innovate to keep pace with increased demand, with some introducing technological shifts that further increase the attack surface. 

The consequences of a successful attack on a food manufacturer/supplier or retailer could dwarf those in other sectors since disruptions to this industry can not only interrupt business continuity and bankrupt the company but also create contaminated food products that directly harm consumers. Food producers and retailers who underestimate the level of risk and the damage that could be caused by a potential breach might face:

  • Production lines interruptions and shutdowns which could cripple the business

  • Leak of customers personal data (loyalty programs)

  • Leak of commercial data (buying prices, contracts)

  • Degradation of food products, making them unsafe for sale and consumption

  • Financial loss as a result of ransomware pay-outs and loss of productivity  

  • IP breach of food recipes and production processes

  • Physical harm to personnel and equipment 

  • Reputational damage

AR+VR within the food industry, AR and VR have also begun to make headway. Although development costs are still high, more and more Food & Beverage businesses are beginning to realize the potential of AR/VR and see it as a worthwhile investment. Three main areas – human resources, customer experiences, food products – have seen the most concentration of AR/VR development so far and will likely continue to push the envelope on what use cases AR & VR have within the industry. Augmented reality can bridge this gap between consumer, product and product content. The ability to overlay additional information, visual stimulus and interaction on top of specific items give product companies the chance to combine the digital world with the physical one in a targeted and seamless way.

Machine Learning + AI is another technology which is reshaping the food processing and handling business. In upcoming years it is going to revolutionize the Food & Beverage sector forever. AI will help these companies to increase their revenue by speeding up the production process, reducing maintenance time & hence the production downtime, decreasing the chances of failure by automating almost every process and eventually delivering an excellent customer experience by predicting their likes, dislikes, and desires.