The food industry is changing by the day. With ever-changing consumer preferences, rising production costs and emerging technologies rumbling along in the background, the food and beverage sector is working hard to innovate and take advantage of the new opportunities in food production.
Whether it’s improving food safety, the taste of the food we enjoy or the transparency of its supply chain, there are a series of innovations that are beginning to take hold in the world of food production.
i3-food project aimed at industrial food production
Across Europe, there has been collaboration including some of the continents major players in the food production industry – Erdbar and DMK. As part of a three-year project looking at the available technologies that could extend the shelf life of food, improve the flavour of some consumables, and much more, the project has looked at introducing three key processes:
Pulsed Electric Field Preservation
This exciting technology, known as PEF-P, utilises short electric pulses to prevent the development of microbials in food products; whilst maintaining the in-demand characteristics of fresh fruit juices, smoothies, and the like.
High-Pressure Thermal Sterilisation
The HPTS technology utilises high pressure to transform the process of thermal sterilisation of ready-to-eat consumables such as microwave meals. The high pressure limits the thermal impact that can occur.
Low Shear Extrusion
This process is carried out at low temperatures based on a planetary roller extruder that enhances the sensory qualities and personalities of foods such as ice cream.
Blockchain coming to the aid of the food chain
Problems with food safety increasingly cost the food and beverage sector billions of pounds annually. Emerging technologies are helping to highlight food safety issues. Blockchain is fast gaining traction, with 12% of CFOs adopting blockchain as a means of providing immutable transparency across the food supply chain – from growers to manufacturers and manufacturers to distributors and supermarkets.
Blockchain isn’t only beneficial for food producers looking to monitor the efficiency and safety of the goods they receive and supply, it also provides a useful aid to consumers too. Today’s consumers want to know exactly where their food comes from. It’s not acceptable for supermarkets to place “organic” or “100% natural” labels on their packaging. Blockchain is increasingly being used to provide more accurate sourcing, reassuring consumers that the food is exactly what the label says it is.
Large producers looking to emerging technologies
Given there are so many different food products available to purchase today across a plethora of channels – be it farm stores, supermarkets, online, social media and other outlets – product differentiation is becoming more important than ever before in a crowded marketplace. That’s why Kraft Heinz recently launched their very own digital hub, seeking the millennial knowledge of the next generation of professionals to help build “digitally powered business models and launch other entrepreneurial ideas to fuel growth” of the Kraft Heinz brand.
The hub comprises data analysts, designers, software engineers and e-commerce specialists to conduct research and development (R&D) on today’s digital disruptions and how food producers and brands can stay trendy and relevant in the eyes of shoppers.