In the wake of COVID-19, online grocery delivery has taken off. According to the 2020 Food Packaging & Consumer Behavior Report, 61% of survey respondents said their purchasing habits acquired during the pandemic will influence the way they shop in the future, and 51% reported using third-party grocery delivery apps within the past three months.
In light of this trend, food manufacturers may have to adapt their packaging to meet the requirements of grocery delivery. Instead of packages being stretch-wrapped onto a pallet to be unloaded by grocery store workers, they’ll be boxed and sent directly to consumers’ doorsteps.
That means outgoing packages must be sturdy enough to withstand the increased vibration and movement across a courier’s distribution chain. Some items may be shipped as is or they will have to be sent inside another shipping box padded with extra dunnage (air bags, crinkled paper, bubble wrap). Products packed in glass, cans or other rigid packaging may have to be rethought.
As we explained in this previous post, vertical farming is a farming technique where crops are grown indoors in a laboratory-like, climate-controlled space. Instead of a crop being limited to geographical regions that provide the ideal growing conditions, vertical farmers can fine-tune the level of water, nutrients, humidity and temperature, as well as light frequency, duration and intensity to create the most ideal environment possible for the crop to grow.
A handful of rural conventional farms are the mega-producers that supply vast swathes of the country with fruits and vegetables, generally located far away from the urban and suburban areas where their crops are shipped to be made available to consumers. The shipping journey — often spanning thousands of miles of highway or open ocean — leads to large amounts of waste and product loss, in addition to creating a large carbon footprint.
Vertical farming is a soilless method of farming that takes place inside a climate-controlled, laboratory-like environment. Farmers are able to fine-tune indoor spaces to the crops they want to grow, instead of being limited to growing crops that a particular outdoor area can support.
The ability to grow in-demand produce without the massive footprint of an outdoor farm, regardless of climate, has led to more vertical farming facilities in urban areas, where produce is grown, harvested and quickly shipped to retailers in the same city. This cuts down on product loss and shipping damage while increasing the shelf life and quality of produce once it hits the shelves.
Such impressive numbers may have you wondering if you should try the tofu and look into entering this emerging market. Let’s lean on the “know before you go” adage and help you make an informed decision.
How simulations streamline construction and save money
Digital transformation is taking over the food industry. From automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to real-time mobile reporting, companies are looking to invest in digital tools that improve efficiencies and reduce overhead.
But with the wide variety of options available today, it can be difficult to decide which technological investment will keep your manufacturing facility ahead of the pack.
Simulation software is one of the newest technological breakthroughs – one that can save up to millions of dollars for food companies when they are building or expanding their facilities.
Questions to consider before investing in RFID over barcodes
While barcode tracking is the standard for supply chain traceability in the food industry, it’s not the only option. As RFID technology has advanced, many have asked if it’s worth the investment for food manufacturing and distribution.
RFID technology has its pros and cons. For example, it offers more functionality, but is typically more expensive, which is why it’s often reserved for products with a greater profit margin such as automobiles. So does it ever make sense for a food or beverage company?
Barcodes have long been the standard for tracking products throughout the food and beverage supply chain. But technological advancements have introduced RFID as another option across a variety of industries. What’s the difference?
What is RFID?
RFID, short for Radio Frequency Identification, is the use of radio frequency waves to wirelessly transfer data without contact. Tagging items with RFID tags allows users to automatically and uniquely identify and track inventory and assets.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data in food processing plants
Food and beverage manufacturing has been one of the slower industries to adopt new technology. While machine learning and artificial intelligence may sound daunting, this technology offers a valuable return on investment.
Here are three major ways to benefit from big data tools in your processing plant.
You’ve likely heard a lot about Industry 4.0 and the impact of predictive and prescriptive maintenance on the food and beverage industry. It can sound overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a few basic investments and the right partner can help streamline the way your facility operates and communicates
Food manufacturing facilities are complex and have various ecosystems operating at different levels, including:
But all of these systems don’t always talk to each other. In many facilities, an equipment failure triggers a lengthy domino effect: Maintenance staff has to assess the problem, create a work order, check if a replacement part is available and so on.
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