The food industry has faced a number of exciting and dramatic technological changes with respect to its supply chain, which is fueled by rapidly changing consumer demand for product variety and safety. In the last few years, the market has drastically improved. It has shifted from food products being stored in cold storage warehouses to the provision of value-added services such as quick delivery through innovative logistics and encapsulation of ingredients to enhance protection of products, to customers.
By By Sravanthi Shannon, marketsandmarkets.
According to the FAO, annual global food losses are roughly around 30% for cereals, 40%-50% for crops & fruits, 20% for oil seeds, meat & dairy, and 35% for fish. Thus, technological developments in cold handling, processing, and storage systems are advancing in the food industry to prevent the loss of perishable foods.
Integration of IoT (Internet of Things) from farm to fork
Precision Farming: Precision farming is an advanced farming technique that utilizes global positioning system (GPS), geographic information system (GIS), remote sensing, and variable-rate technology (VRT) to collect crucial field-related data about soil moisture, soil nutrient, soil fertility, and crop health. By offering real-time farm monitoring, weather forecasting, and optimal field requirements, precision farming enables farmers to increase yield with minimum human intervention and zero wastage.
During the processing and packaging, the freshness of fruit or vegetable raw materials is monitored by IOT sensors so that the number of perforations in the packaging material required for respiration is decided accordingly. For instance, the Zest Intelligence Pallet Routing (ZIPR) Code provides real-time data about the freshness of produce.
Sensor technology is one of the most widely used livestock monitoring techniques that help in detecting diseases in animals to take immediate protective actions, which helps in reducing labor energy and costs incurred on monitoring the livestock.
Advancements in traceability technology have been making it easier for producers, processors, distributors, and consumers to track and trace food throughout the supply chain. Food tracing systems facilitate automated data collection, technological solutions, and processes that help in improving business efficiency and cost reduction.
Traceability effectively reduces the chances of contamination in the food supply chain by monitoring the procedures in the supply chain and examines the occurrence of contamination or quality control problems. Traceability technology also plays a vital role in the event of product recalls.
Blockchain Technology: Blockchain technology can revolutionize the traceability and transparency of information in the food supply chain. It is a digital ledger technology which locks the value flow at each point of the supply chain. The world’s largest logistics company, Maersk, has partnered with IBM to drive the digitalization of global trade. This digital innovation demonstrates the value of free and secure exchange of information and the potential for stakeholders to create more products.
In October 2016, Walmart conducted a pilot study named ‘Hyperledger Study’ for tracking pork products in China to gain shipping information which included farm origination details, batch numbers, and storage temperatures for traceability and transparency in the food supply.