Over the past few decades, technology has become integral in our lives. From drones to automated processing to robots, we now have access to numerous innovations — and the food industry has experienced noteworthy transformations as a result. These developments give us a chance to overcome challenges on various scales, including food delivery, food shortages and everything in between.
Here’s a look at how new technology in the food industry has made waves.
How the Current Market Is Driving Technology Trends
Currently, we live in a fast-paced world, which means each sector evolves seemingly overnight. The relationship between market demands and new technology is evident, especially when you consider the food industry. As consumers make their demands apparent, industry leaders can respond with technological advances to meet their needs. In this way, food has become healthier, more accessible and considerate.
Safe & Healthy Food
The demand for food products has increased steadily to meet population growth. But people aren’t just asking for anything. Around 43% of global consumers are on the hunt for safer, healthier food items to bring home from the grocery store. Similarly, they want nutritious options when they’re eating out at restaurants.
As the world’s need grows, it’s not enough for manufacturers to simply increase production. These companies need to consider quality as a significant factor — and recent regulations in the food and beverage sector point to the importance of safe and healthy food selections. As a result, many businesses have introduced technology to help them boost production while they move to distribute better options.
In recent years, climate change has become a serious and increasingly urgent concern. Therefore, people worldwide are now taking a step forward to protect the planet as best they can. This effort includes the adoption of vegetarian and vegan diets and the expectation of more sustainability from manufacturers. These companies can prove sustainability in their production process by adopting digital transformation and creating more transparency.
As a related point, packaging has also become a concern for consumers due to environmental concerns. When you walk down the aisles of a supermarket, you’ll likely see various products that come in plastic containers and plastic wrap. Unfortunately, plastic has a detrimental impact on the planet.
The bright side is that many consumers have become vocal about their disdain for plastic products, moving businesses and countries alike to ban certain single-use plastics like straws and utensils. As a result, alternative solutions have surfaced — and the digital world can provide creative solutions to tackle this problem.
If you open up a food delivery app on your phone, you’ll probably see five different places serving similar cuisine. It’s no secret that competition is fierce — and companies need to set themselves apart to stay profitable. Because most consumers love innovative tactics and services, technology has become a go-to solution to level the playing field.
10 Examples of Modern Technology in Food Production
Today’s technology plays a role in every part of the food production system. From beginning to end, all players in the food industry can utilize technology to meet various goals. Below, you’ll find several examples of modern technology in food production, so you can see exactly how technology is transforming the sector.
Many robotic devices are meant to increase production, making the process faster and safer. These advanced machines can contribute to the food industry by assisting fellow line workers, taking over unsafe procedures and more. As an example, “robot butchers” could help by handling intricate cuts of meat in factories to take the risk away from humans. Additionally, robots can speed up sorting and packaging in production, so companies can meet demands quicker.
The agriculture sector depends on weather conditions and soil quality. Without new technology in the food industry, workers would have to physically check the crops, manually inspecting them for quality. That’s a process that takes accuracy and precision — and while humans can assess conditions in a more complex way, technology can help lighten the load by taking on similar responsibilities.
To overcome challenges, several companies have started using drones. These devices fly over the various acres to assess the conditions. They examine soil and crops, which saves time and enhances productivity. This valuable information soil contributes to the quality of the product, helps the company grow high-quality food.
3. Eco-Friendly Packaging & Waste Reduction
Sustainability has become a need of the modern consumer — and brands must comply to stay relevant. As noted previously, more consumers want to reduce waste, which mainly starts with choosing food products that come with reusable packaging. That’s where technology comes into play.
The latest technology has made eco-friendly packaging alternatives more available. These options, including edible packaging and recyclable packaging, reduces waste to almost zero — and the nanoparticles can even kill the bacteria, making the food healthier and safer.
Additionally, conveniences with phone apps make waste reduction increasingly possible. For example, users can browse certain websites to find places to donate unused food products. There are even food operations that reserve food products for the end of the day, giving them out for free to anyone who requests them via an app.
4. Smart Sensors
Furthermore, food production has become more straightforward thanks to smart sensors. These sensors provide valuable insights to production managers, helping them count inventory, examine ingredients, maintain temperatures and make the experience more straightforward overall. Outside the factory or facility, businesses can implement sensors in delivery vehicles to ensure distribution happens just as smoothly.
5. Blockchain Methods
Transparency has become vital in recent years. As the food industry evolves to accommodate sustainability trends, consumers want to know every detail about how manufacturers make their food. This information includes ingredient lists, production processes and more.
To ensure they comply with a growing need for clarity, businesses have started using blockchain methods. These systems gather information about a product’s origin, allowing consumers to scan a product ID with their smartphones to see the process from start to finish.
6. AI-Based Solutions
It’s no secret that demand plays a huge role in production. If a company doesn’t have data about consumer preferences, production will suffer. Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) solutions can remove any guesswork, helping businesses use information to perfect production processes.
AI-powered solutions also help restaurants to create forecasts. To keep a well-stocked kitchen, restaurants must track demand and order supplies accordingly. AI allows businesses to gauge sales so they can order the exact amount of products they need. As a result, they can save money and time.
3D printing is around the corner from a breakthrough. This technology needs time and perfection to reach its full potential, but the process has already started. 3D printing may not work to create gourmet dishes from scratch, but it can certainly make a difference in packed items. Additionally, 3D printing may eventually make its way to people’s kitchens, where consumers can use it to generate specific items for cooking and baking.
7. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is already an existing trend, used in irrigation and crop monitoring. These systems of connected devices allow the food industry to centralize information about irrigation, plowing and more. For example, sensors work in grain bins, allowing farmers to monitor the moisture and temperature remotely. Additionally, IoT can alert manufacturers about potential supply chain issues, which saves time and money.
A hackathon happens when software engineers and other technology experts come together to create functioning technology in short periods of time. For the food industry specifically, the innovators of both food and technology come together to create unique solutions to tackle challenges. These events help draw eyes to specific issues related to food around the world.
As an example, food insecurity is a prominent issue, which affects millions of Americans even in today’s modern age. A hackathon can bring together the right people to create technology that solves accessibility problems. Additionally, hackathons can spur conversations about what other innovations need to happen to ensure all people have continued, reliable access to healthy and safe food options.
These hackathons lead to a map of sustainable solutions that have the potential to revolutionize the food industry.
9. Online Marketing
As climate change becomes more concerning, people have started looking into local food options as a way to reduce carbon emissions and support local businesses. However, because competition remains fierce, consumers don’t always know where to find local farms and organizations to source food products. Fortunately, online marketing provides a solution.
Now, local producers have a way to help consumers find products grown in their region. By promoting their websites through social media and paid advertising, farmers can connect with community members. It’s also easier to organize and promote events like farmer’s markets. That’s a win-win for everyone, as producers increase clientele and consumers eat better.
10. Data Utilization
These days, data is like gold for businesses in the food industry. This information helps them narrow down their target markets, so they can use their resources as wisely as possible. It provides insights into the consumer’s preferences, allowing companies to improve their products and services, as well. On a basic level, data can be the difference between keeping a dish on a restaurant’s menu, increasing profits in the long run.
As food and beverage technology trends emerge, data gives everyone a chance to stay on the cutting edge.
The Benefits of New Technology in the Food and Beverage Industry
The food and beverage industry uses technology in various areas, from behind the scenes in production to on the front lines of a restaurant. These innovations have transformed the sector, providing numerous benefits as a result. Take a look at more about how technology is transforming the food industry.
Accurate Supply and Demand Forecast
Processes like ordering and holding inventory require sizable investments, which means unused inventory can affect company funds and impact daily operations. With technology, companies know the demand beforehand so they can order stock accordingly. This trick optimizes cash flow and reduces associated risk.
Software analyzes consumer demand so businesses can understand their needs better. As a result, they can predict the permanent and seasonal demand of their target audiences, helping them use their resources wisely.
Reduced Risks of Perishable Goods
The implementation of smart sensors is a welcome addition to food and beverage companies. These devices can identify any anomalies at an early stage, alerting workers so they can act quickly to resolve the issue. Some supply chains deal with perishable goods that require specific temperatures, which makes sensors even more critical.
With sensors, storing and transporting food products has become much easier. This technology can serve as a second set of eyes for companies, meaning they almost always know immediately when something goes wrong. That’s huge for players in the food and beverage industries, as time is money — and one shipment of low-quality products can be detrimental.
Improved Customer Experience
The latest technology allows companies to understand the needs of customers better so they can deliver. It enables them to only provide high-quality products by using data to ensure they meet their target audience’s demands. As a result, businesses can supply quality products consistently — and they can even predict what their customers will want next. That’s a huge bonus for consumers who want companies to anticipate their needs.
Recipe Flexibility in Restaurants
As consumer demand shifts, manufacturers and restaurants have to keep up with changing needs. While production managers have to make changes in the early steps of the supply change, restaurant owners constantly have to come up with new recipes to ensure they satisfy their patrons. Fortunately, technology can help.
By using digital tools and specific information together, restaurants can create menus that change alongside their customers’ ever-changing needs. Rather than rush to modify their selections at the drop of a hat, they can take a streamlined approach to constantly evolving their menus. These tricks help improve flexibility while allowing them to save money. Additionally, restaurants can boost efficiency.
Safer Production Environment
The food industry employs millions of individuals around the world. Therefore, creating a safe working environment is essential. Plus, companies want to ensure they’re as efficient as possible — and supplying workers with digital tools can help boost productivity, which reflects positively on production.
For instance, augmented reality (AR) software helps managers calculate the working parameter of their machines so they can provide necessary real-time data to the engineer. AR can also work as training simulators for workers, preparing them for operations without physically being on the job site. Essentially, businesses in the food industry can rely on AR to help their employees work more meaningful, safer jobs.
Exploring Food and Beverage Industry Predictions
The food sector is digitally transforming, so everyone involved in the process, from producers to restaurants, has to adapt. This change can be beneficial for the whole industry, but adjusting to it can be overwhelming. Here are some ways technology will rebuild and redefine the food industry and how it can impact the customer’s experience.
As the pandemic forced restaurants to close in-person dining to the public, they pivoted to capitalize on the digital dining experience. It doesn’t seem like this trend will be tapering off any time soon, as more and more consumers have become used to experiencing food in this way. As a result, restaurants should expect to make delivery a key part of their business even as they’re able to reopen their doors.
Furthermore, restaurant owners should be ready to analyze and use data created by these virtual customer interactions. This way, they’ll know exactly how to meet customer demand both in-person and online. Keeping an eye on virtual food trends will ensure they’re on top of their game.
The hospitality and travel industry experience numerous issues relating to the pandemic, and a wave of foreclosures and layoffs happened as a result. This situation drove away hospitality employees, including chefs, managers and other staff. With so much change in the workforce, food businesses will face the challenge of onboarding new staff — and effectively reconstruction some of their business from the ground up.
On the bright side, companies have a chance to reconsider their position in the industry. Now, they can regroup by creating teams and using technology to put themselves in a better position. These circumstances also relate to the digital dining experience, as restaurants may decide to strictly focus on that growing aspect of the industry as they work to rebuild.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has given rise to takeout demand, indirectly increasing the use of plastic containers. As the industry slowly evolves, restaurant owners will need to come up with creative alternatives to the increased waste accumulation. This situation means we’ll likely see a rise in the use of eco-friendly packaging. Additionally, more companies will probably shift toward becoming more sustainable as a whole.
How the Food Industry Can Adjust to These Changes
Today’s technology can elevate the food industry — but adjusting and adapting to new systems can be challenging. Here are a few tips on how to proceed with these changes so you can make the most out of the technology revolution in the food industry.
Adapt to New Consumer Expectations
Now, consumer expectations have changed in regard to dining. More people want access to quality food in the comfort of their own homes, so having the chance to browse a website or app to order food to their doorstep can be the difference between them ordering from you and someone else. This trend also extends to fast-casual dining experiences, where customers can pick up food quickly.
Try to focus on offering numerous accessibility options for your patrons so you can meet their needs.
Strive to Achieve Eco-Friendliness
Today’s consumers also want to make a difference with every purchase. As stated previously, customers care more about the environment every day, so they want to choose food that follows those specific guidelines. Additionally, they want healthier, safer options.
Do your best to be transparent about your processes. Highlight where you source your ingredients so customers are more informed. If you work with local producers, you can provide information about them so consumers know more about them. If you’re honest and trustworthy while providing sustainable, healthy options, you’ll hit the nail on the head — and your customers may even pay more for your products.
Advance Efficiency Through Technology
The digital revolution continues to boom — and soon, all quick-service restaurants will ensure customers can order from the convenience of their phones and laptops. This point means restaurants need to make themselves more available, so consumers choose them and not the competition. If you can, you should streamline your online ordering processes as much as possible.
Additionally, solutions like inventory management impact productivity and efficiency. These systems can improve the overall operation of the restaurant, increasing profits and saving time.
Contact American Food & Vending for Streamlined Dining Solutions
With seemingly endless technological advancements, we can only assume what the food industry will look like in the next few years. By partnering with a reliable, forward-thinking hospitality services company like American Food & Vending, you can ensure you’re on the cutting edge of the food and beverage industry. Whether you need delicious and trendy food options for a college campus or a sports stadium, you can rely on us for innovative solutions.
Contact us now to take a step forward into the future of food with us!