F&B has shown resilience despite numerous global crises. It’s no surprise, then, that the industry is often described as recession-proof. Despite the debilitating impact of the pandemic, digitalization has supported the gradual recovery of the food sector. In light of the unprecedented focus on safety, F&B has embraced groundbreaking changes.
The role of digitization
The adoption of digitalization has helped make food consumption much safer and hassle-free for
businesses and other institutions feared their cafeterias would become hotspots for virus transmission. Players take advantage of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT and data analysis to ensure safety and hygiene. From food sourcing to kitchen operations to consumption, food technology companies have implemented a safe and efficient end-to-end process.
Traditional paper-based manual processes without real-time tracking have negatively impacted the potential of the food industry. For example, in an institutional setting, especially in large organizations, ordering food, making payments and finally collecting food can be a long process. More so between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., when office or school cafeterias receive the most users. In the pre-COVID era, office workers or students faced long lines, long wait times, lack of adequate seating, and time-consuming payment methods. Likewise, theft ate away at suppliers’ income and encountered difficulties in managing inventory. Companies also had to spend excessive time overseeing/managing operations and suppliers, which added unnecessary overhead.
However, the pandemic has forced everyone in the food industry to adopt technology that has resulted in greater efficiency. Food partners/suppliers have started leveraging technology to forecast demand for accurate inventory management and profitability with accuracy. Institutions and end-users/consumers have mutually benefited from these advances. Features such as touchless ordering, cafeteria automation, real-time cafeteria congestion tracking, COVID-safe vending machines, digital checklists and social distancing tracking have ensured that food consumption in institutional and public premises was safe and healthy.
The road ahead
Technological advancements in the food industry have been aligned with safety protocols, making the process of food consumption convenient and easy. The focus on food safety and technological solutions in the food ecosystem is more than just a passing trend. Technology integration will increase in the coming years. Digitalization is an integral part of the food industry. Industries or businesses powered by technology will continue to thrive; others will be left behind.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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