Food Manufacturing Industry | 5 mins read

The Impact of Tech and Trends on the Food Manufacturing Industry

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Hanh Truong

By Hanh Truong

Introduction to Food Manufacturing Industry

Technology has been slowly transforming the food manufacturing industry. Major companies are implementing tools, such as artificial intelligence and drones, to help with food production. According to a report by ING, technology enables food manufacturers to produce efficiently. With the right solutions, it can also help improve product development and enhance food safety.

The Pros and Cons of Technology in the Food Manufacturing Industry

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A prevalent technological tool that food manufacturing companies often use is artificial intelligence. Also known as AI, artificial intelligence are systems and machines that are programmed to function like human minds. AI-powered tools can recognize objects, understand human language, make decisions, and solve problems. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, manufacturing industries that invest in artificial intelligence technology are expected to experience about 18% annual revenue growth. While there are many benefits of using AI, there are some drawbacks as well.

Pros of Artificial Intelligence

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The following are advantages to artificial intelligence in the food manufacturing industry.

  • Personalization
Artificial intelligence enables companies to enhance their personalized services. With AI systems, business owners can gain visibility into their target audience and consumers' behaviors. They can then customize their products and services to what their shoppers prefer. Additionally, they can personalize marketing tactics and advertisements.

Generally, people will pay little attention to broad and vague media adverts and emails. However, with AI, manufacturers can create interesting marketing campaigns that pinpoint their customers' interests. For example, if a meat manufacturer's main consumers are high-end restaurants, their adverts may emphasize product quality and specialty cuts. This will enhance customer engagement and can boost sales.

  • Scalability
Artificial intelligence will allow businesses to expand and successfully grow. For instance, these tools will analyze and highlight products that are performing well. Business owners can then optimize their strategies to enhance the visibility of those items to increase revenue. Some AI tools, such as self-service kiosks, can also replace human employees. Manufacturers can then reduce labor costs and allocate these funds towards new projects.

  • 24/7 Customer Service
By equipping the customer service department with artificial intelligence, consumers can have 24/7 support. Typically, customers will have comments, questions, and complaints at any hour of the day. Also, if a company operates globally, then it will have shoppers from different time zones. With AI solutions, such as chatbots, all inquiries will be addressed and answered promptly. This can help the business preserve its relationship with its customers and ensure problems are remedied quickly.

  • Minimize Errors
Artificial intelligence machines can streamline manufacturing processes and minimize human errors. It will also automate and ensure error-free data collection, analysis, and forecasting. This is important because manufacturers often have to process large volumes of data. Any mistakes, such as duplication or omission, can render data reports unusable. It can also be costly because staff would have to spend more time restarting the process.

Therefore, with artificial intelligence, companies can assure their processes are completed accurately and cost-efficiently.

Cons of Artificial Intelligence

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Despite the various benefits of using artificial intelligence in the food manufacturing industry, there are some drawbacks, as well. The following are disadvantages to AI.

  • Costly Implementation
Implementing artificial intelligence into business systems may be costly for small businesses. When budgeting for new technological tools, organizations should consider the cost of the software, installation, repairs, and maintenance fees.

  • Inability to Improve From Experience
Although artificial intelligence machines have certain human-like capabilities, they cannot learn from past experiences. These solutions will always perform the same tasks using the same controls. This means it will not be able to enhance future processes and outcomes. They can only be improved if the user reprograms the system or uses a new command.

  • Lack of Creativity
Artificial intelligence tools cannot generate new business strategies or creative marketing tactics. However, AI can equip business leaders with valuable information and data insights so they can brainstorm new ideas.

The rise of new technology in the food manufacturing industry can be attributed to evolving consumer demands. By staying on top of new trends, businesses can increase their competitive edge and boost their profitability. The following are current trends in the food industry that companies should monitor.

1. Food Safety and Transparency

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Recently, there have been major recalls of food products. For example, Nestle had to recall more than 700,000 pounds of their pepperoni Hot Pockets due to potential glass and plastic contamination. They also recalled their Lean Cuisine products because of foreign matter contamination. These issues reinforce why more consumers are researching their foods to ensure it is safe to eat.

Foodservice businesses need to ensure food safety and promote transparency by informing their consumers about their practices. This will help build trust between the brand and its customers. It will also safeguard the company's reputation and prevent the loss of sales.

2. Plant-Based Diets

Plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular among the general public. In fact, the plant-based food industry is worth $4.1 billion, according to market research. More people are health-conscious; therefore, they are shifting towards products, like plant-based meats. Not only do these items appeal to vegans and vegetarians, but it can attract those that eat real meat, as well. This is because plant-based meats are known for having the taste, appearance, and texture of real meat. Food manufacturers expect sales for these products to continue to grow.

3. Sustainability

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Today's consumers want to purchase from companies that are known for sustainable practices and processes. This entails environmentally friendly packaging, food processing, and animal farming. A study from 2019, found that 37% of consumers are willing to seek out and pay up to 5% more for eco-friendly products. Manufacturing companies that shift to sustainable practices can effectively reach new consumer bases and increase profits.

Conclusion to Food Manufacturing Industry

  • Companies in the food manufacturing industry have been implementing new technology tools to their strategy.

  • New technology will allow for improved efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

  • A key solution that food businesses have been using is artificial intelligence. These tools can enhance scalability and eliminate human errors.

  • The food manufacturing industry's technological growth stems from developing consumer trends.