You could argue that flexibility in food manufacturing has never been more important: new generations of consumers are craving more variety, the internet is reshaping how food is packaged and purchased and a global pandemic just reminded us all of how crucial (and fragile) the supply chain can be.
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.
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.
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.
We still have a few months left in 2019, but if you’re considering building or renovating a facility sometime next year, the time to start planning may be now. Equipment lead times are growing longer — upwards of 18 to 26 weeks in some cases — and it can be even more for equipment shipped from overseas.
So how can you best prepare for your upcoming project so you don’t encounter equipment delays? In my experience, there are two major things to consider before meeting with your builder.
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.
For more than 120 years, Royal Cup Coffee & Tea has been rooted in its hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Over the past century, Royal Cup has grown from selling coffee out of a horse-drawn wagon to a major international importer, roaster and distributor of premium coffees and teas.
Recently, in an effort to meet the demand of its rapidly growing consumer base, Royal Cup consulted with the Stellar team on how it could revamp its 40-acre campus to increase production as well as set the industry standard for safety and efficiency.
A growing number of food and beverage processing facilities are investing in robotics and automation, as the technology continues to advance and costs continue to normalize. These tools can be a game-changer for many businesses, offering benefits such as reduced operating costs, upped throughput and increased food and worker safety.
That said, such a significant investment requires careful implementation. Before incorporating robotics into your facility, consider these important best practices to ensure you invest wisely and efficiently.
From food safety practices that adhere to the rigorous British Retail Consortium Food Safety Standard to features designed to meet LEED Gold certification requirements, the Starbucks soluble coffee plant in Augusta, Georgia, is a modern marvel. Nowhere are the facility’s many innovations more on display than on its processing and packaging line.
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