10 Mar How Internet of the Things Will Impact the Food Industry
The expansion of the Internet of the Things (IoT) is one of the trends pointed out in 2015’s forecast. A report by Gartner predicts that there will be 4.9 billion connected things in use in 2015 while many experts talk about a third industrial revolution. What will be the impact of the Internet of the things in the food industry?
Experts consider that the relationship between buyer and seller will change once many devices get connected to the Internet. That will open new opportunities not only in the development and sales of products, but also in services. It is enough to think in devices or products that could be optimized or even fixed online, enlarging their lifetime. For companies, this is an opportunity not only to develop new products, but to expand their portfolio of services around the products they are already commercializing.
On the other hand, in the digital economy, there is an increasing demand by the public on more information and transparency, making it necessary to redefine customer services to engage consumers, and to strengthen communication and ties with them.
Manufacturing process and logistics
As pointed out by Rich Chavie, chief solution officer of Hybris in an article published in Food Manufacturing, the Internet of the things is an opportunity to optimize supply chain and improve manufacturing process by embedding interactive technology in key machines and automation, and to optimize equipment and processes in real time. This allows also for the reduction of risks in the manufacturing process and improve machinery involved in the food production performance.
The Internet of the Things allows for better data collection, which can help manufacturers analyze and optimize their production processes, SAP agrees in their blog too.
Due to the change in customers’ buying behavior and the velocity of markets, the food producers have to work in a rapidly changing environment. Better connected production systems will allow them for greater adaptability, flexibility, and risk reduction as well as being better communicated with customers to address their needs, and suppliers, with the possibility of sharing resources with them, all being very useful capabilities of the networked economy.
New smart products
This is an area where progress has been made. Some everyday household appliances are already connected to the Internet in the way to a smartest kitchen, as it is the case of some Kitchen robots, which are prepared to access to recipes on the Internet, making the preparation of food more precise. But there are more. Lots of kitchen gadgets are getting to the market while crowdfunding sites receive more and more in-developing ideas in this line. Kitchen thermometers connected to mobile devices, an interactive chopping board or the first approaches to connect fridges to the Internet are some examples.
In many cases, this is an opportunity of collaboration between traditional food producers and companies involved in technology too, like in the case of the 3D food printer Foodini, which is an engineering and technological development that looks now for collaborators in producing foods for their device.
Health and security
Many of the recently developed gadgets have the aim of improving consumer health, by measuring the calories they eat or ensuring the safety of the foods. Quirky’s Egg Minder is a device that connects to the mobile device to track the number of eggs that the consumer has and tell them when they are going bad. The HAPIfork is a device that tracks the consumer eating habits, vibrating to alert the dinner when eating too fast and helping him to change his way of eating, if necessary, to control weight or to ingest less calories. Also for helping to achieve a balanced diet, The Orange Chef is focusing on data transparency with devices to measure calories and nutritional facts.