Every industry can take advantage of automation, and that’s exactly what the food and beverage industry did. Automation enables better visibility into the supply chain, protects workers, reduces labor costs, and eliminates human error.
Many manufacturers around the world are finding new ways to implement automation into their operations. So what’s the impact of automation on food safety and quality? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of automation:
Better Quality Control in Production
In the food industry, quality matters. If the food is unsafe or unhealthy, it shouldn’t go to the grocery store. Unfortunately, many food manufacturers make mistakes because they can’t monitor every product and keep track of it. Outdated systems can’t guarantee quality every time.
Food industry automation, including the use of nutrition label software and ingredient lists, can improve efficiency on the production line while ensuring food safety and reducing or eliminating human error. It will also improve consistency in the food to ensure taste and quality.
Automation can also prevent quality issues before they happen. Automated systems collect data and use predictive analytics tools to predict food safety issues. Training AI on existing food data can help manufacturers forecast the processes that lead to more food safety risks, allowing businesses to take action before issues arise. For example, some businesses are already using this technology to track illnesses and improve their safety inspections.
This same technology can also be used to increase the shelf-life of various products and detect potential contamination.
Improve Ingredient Visibility
Consumers want to learn more about the ingredients used in their food for a variety of reasons. If you want to maintain trust with consumers and follow regulations, you must ensure ingredient visibility. Nutrition label software can help by ensuring producers provide an accurate list of all the ingredients in their food, which can give manufacturers even more visibility into their supply chain.
Automation systems can centralize data to make it easier to find the information you need while ensuring compliance. Lot tracking can help you track various products and safeguard your business against potentially dangerous recalls, allowing you to respond faster.
Improves Workplace Safety
Automation can’t replace humans in the food and beverage industry, but it can improve their safety. Automated systems can perform and control dangerous tasks promoting workplace safety and allowing workers to stay out of harm’s way during production.
Increases Overall Efficiency
One of the most significant benefits of automation in the food industry is efficiency. Automation can help your business move faster and allow employees to focus on more critical business initiatives that improve the business. The more efficient operations are, the higher the quality of food and the less waste is produced. Additionally, these businesses can increase their profits by effectively lowering operational costs.
The food industry requires flexibility, and businesses must be willing and able to adapt. Human workers typically have to be retrained on new systems, and automation enables faster learning. Machines and software can learn faster than humans and often don’t have to since you’ll likely replace old systems with new ones. If standards change, technological adjustments can ensure compliance even when workers are still being trained.
Additionally, automation is easy to scale and will grow with your business. If you experience seasonal increased demand, you can adjust the software to accomplish more without necessarily having to hire seasonal help.
Automation encourages the practice of standard operating procedures to help workers and machines work together to ensure quality and safety. Businesses can automate their procedures and replace documentation with automated digital solutions to monitor and control compliance. This technology can notify employees if they miss a step in the process or do it incorrectly to ensure everyone is doing the same tasks to accomplish the work.
Efficiency in Agriculture
Agriculture is the source of milk, beef, poultry, and grains. Without it, we wouldn’t have food, and much of the industry is already using some form of automation in the form of robots to improve their processes. Agriculture robots moss grass and monitor the status of harvests. They also feed animals and handle various routine jobs.
Farmers may also use drones to evaluate their fields from a different perspective and gather additional data on crops to ensure better yields.
After manufacturing, automation can package food and organize it in boxes for shipment. More organized and efficient packaging reduces waste because robots know the price measurements they need for each product. Now, manufacturers can use more environmentally-friendly packing materials to mass produce food sustainably.
Faster Food Delivery
Autonomous food delivery systems are already delivering food. You’ve no doubt seen the many videos online of robots strolling the streets to find their destination and drones flying from restaurant to customer. Unfortunately, the trend hasn’t quite caught on as there have been logistical issues with the robots, such as falling over and being unable to get up or drones dropping off the food on top of roofs. However, food delivery systems are expanding, and many large chains are already investing in robots to help customers shop.
Automation can improve efficiencies, facilitate worker safety, and reduce human errors in production lines. However, it’s important to note that this technology won’t replace humans. Human workers are still an important part of the food and beverage industry, so they won’t be replaced by machines. Instead, they’ll work side by side to deliver better quality, safer products. In addition, modern automation systems create more efficient processes to support overall business initiatives while satisfying consumers’ demands.
Of course, while automation isn’t new, new solutions are always available. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you’ll need to stay up to date on the various systems and processes available to help you learn new technology that can help your business thrive. Not investing in the newest technologies gives your competitors the opportunity to do things more efficiently and better, so staying ahead of the curve is crucial.
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.