5 Ways IoT is Making the Food and Beverage Industry more Efficient
The global food and beverage industry has wholeheartedly embraced IoT in recent years. Read to see how IoT solutions are transforming this critical sector.
The Internet of Things has seen tremendous advancements in recent years. With an estimated 14.4 billion IoT devices in operation today, what was just a concept a decade ago is now an integral part of everyday life.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the food and beverage (F&B) industry, one of the world's most dynamic and rapidly evolving sectors, is increasingly leveraging IoT technology to improve food safety, streamline operations, and minimize its carbon footprint.
A ReportLinker report reveals that the F&B IoT market, worth $4 billion in 2017, is now valued at $7 billion in 2023 and will reach $8.5 billion by 2025. This commendable adoption rate has resulted in steady improvements in how the F&B industry delivers high-quality food to consumers.
If you are in the food and beverage sector, it is worth taking note of IoT's transformative potential. Read on for 5 compelling ways the Internet of Things is making the F&B industry more efficient.
1. Improving food safety
The United States Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) revolutionary Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has instigated worldwide transformation in the food industry. This law substantially updates food safety regulations, transforming the FDA into a proactive organization concentrating on prevention rather than reacting to existing contamination issues.
In response, the food & beverage industry is focusing on food safety more than ever, investing in all sorts of solutions that could help achieve FDA compliance. Various IoT-based solutions in F&B are helping businesses provide high-quality products and comply with FSMA regulations.
Here are some ways IoT is contributing to food safety.
- Temperature, humidity, and air quality sensors are being deployed in manufacturing, distribution, and food storage facilities to monitor environmental conditions in real-time and alert managers of any anomalies.
- RFID tags are aiding in tracking deliveries, allowing companies to trace a product's journey from farm to store and identify any contamination issues that might have occurred along the way.
- Data analytics platforms are helping to analyze large datasets, identify hidden trends and correlations, and uncover safety issues that may have otherwise gone undetected.
The F&B sector is an intricate network of interconnected parts that relies heavily on well-oiled supply chains to get food from farms to customers. Unfortunately, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 18% of the $161.6 billion annual losses in the global F&B supply chain occur in logistics operations. Food losses related to the transportation of fruits and vegetables are especially alarming due to their perishable nature.
As with most other supply-chain-intensive sectors, the Internet of Things has immense potential to streamline food and beverage logistics. Today, industry-leading F&B companies are implementing various IoT-enabled solutions to minimize losses, optimize fleet utilization, and reduce transportation costs.
Below are some of the logistics-related IoT solutions currently being used in F&B.
- GPS devices on delivery trucks and refrigerated containers are facilitating shipment tracking, allowing companies to view their route progress in real-time and notify customers of any potential delays or disruptions.
- QR and bar code scanners are automatically tracking inventory levels, helping companies identify and address waste points.
- Cloud-based fleet management platforms are delivering data-driven insights that allow companies to optimize their shipping processes. With this information, companies can calculate the best routes, identify bottlenecks, improve fuel consumption rates, and decrease overall transportation times, among other improvements.
The global supply chain is experiencing a widespread push for more traceability and transparency to enhance trust and foster loyalty across stakeholders. As a result, solutions that can provide consumers with a complete overview of the journey their food has gone through are gaining traction in the F&B sector.
IoT-based solutions are a cornerstone of this quest for transparency, enabling all stakeholders, from farmers to consumers, to trace food from farm to plate. Here are 3 examples demonstrating IoT's role in promoting F&B supply chain transparency.
- RFID tags, QR codes, and bar codes offer a detailed overview of each item's journey, allowing companies and consumers to trace their origins and condition.
- Sensors embedded in vehicles are helping to hold logistics partners accountable for the goods they transport, improving trust with customers and upholding compliance with industry standards.
- Blockchain-based IoT applications are creating immutable records that provide users with an accurate, up-to-date view of the supply chain at all times. With end-to-end blockchain integration, stakeholders can know where every product's raw material came from and how it was stored, handled, and transported.
Manufacturing companies are continuously looking for ways to increase operational efficiency, and this is especially true in the food and beverage industry. Top manufacturers are keen on leveraging technology to eliminate manual processes, minimize waste, and reduce costs. According to Aptean, a leading ERP solutions provider in the F&B space, 73% of food and beverage manufacturers have maintained or increased their investment in digital technologies in the last two years.
IoT is helping manufacturers streamline their production processes and improve product quality. Below are some noteworthy solutions currently in use in F&B manufacturing.
- Connected sensors and cameras along manufacturing lines are aiding in quality control, machine maintenance, and safety through real-time monitoring.
- Robotic arms equipped with AI-powered cameras recognize defective items faster than manual inspection systems, minimizing waste in the production process.
- Predictive analytics systems are providing manufacturers with insights into potential process disruptions, helping them plan for future improvements and reduce downtime.
It is no secret that the food and beverage industry has an immense environmental impact. According to recent studies, the sector collectively accounts for a third of global emissions, and if not addressed, this impact could nearly double by 2050.
Fortunately, pressure from consumers, tightening government regulations, and climate-related food supply disruptions have gotten companies to give climate change the attention it deserves. As the world moves toward a more sustainable future, IoT provides the necessary technology to enable F&B businesses to reduce their carbon footprint in multiple ways.
Here are five mention-worthy ways the internet of things is helping make F&B more sustainable.
- Connected sensors are helping to measure the usage of water, energy, and other resources in real-time, ensuring faster rectification of wastage and inefficiencies.
- Smart farming solutions using IoT-enabled sensors and drones are enabling farmers to maximize yield while preserving water and land resources.
- Connected refrigerator systems are resulting in more efficient storage, transportation, and delivery of food products, leading to improved shelf life and less waste.
- IoT-enabled 3D printing machines are helping to create cost-effective, eco-friendly packing materials.
- Smart waste management systems are providing businesses with insights into the disposal of food waste and other materials, helping them manage their resources better.
What does the future hold for IoT in the F&B sector?
The food and beverages sector has made praiseworthy strides in using IoT to optimize processes and procedures. However, the industry's best days are yet to come as technology becomes even more advanced and cost-effective.
As F&B's reliance on IoT solutions grows, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain-based IoT will become even more commonplace. These digital tools will help F&B companies increase efficiency, transparency, and sustainability in all operations.
With continued advancements in technology and the increasing affordability of IoT solutions, the future of the global food and beverage industry looks exceptionally bright. IoT2Market is excited to be at the forefront of the IoT revolution. By bridging the gap between developers and their target market, IoT2Market helps bring transformative solutions to the limelight faster so that industries like F&B can reap the benefits sooner.