IoT solving food industry challenges

IoT solving food industry challenges

IoT solving food industry challenges
IoT solving food industry challenges

The IoT offers solutions to many traditional food industry challenges.

Operators in the food industry can’t rely on big profit margins to get by, so savings have to be made in the details. This means that food inventories, stock lists, supply chains, and food management all need to be tightly monitored. That’s where the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) can be harnessed.

According to Wrap.org, of the 1.9mt of food and drink wasted by the UK food industry every year, 1mt is avoidable, costing businesses around £1.9billion. Clearly, businesses in the industry need to be smarter when it comes to reducing waste. A huge amount of money is lost by inefficient food management.

Tesco recently came clean about the amount of unsold food waste generated last year, which amounted to 59,400 tonnes – the equivalent of nearly 119 million meals. Avoidable food waste on this scale is deeply unsettling in a climate where many families in the UK live below the average national income and there has been a 19% increase in people relying on aid from food banks.

Read more: IoT in agriculture: Sowing seeds of innovation

The IoT being applied across to solve food industry challenges, improving logistics, inventory visibility, and food management.

IoT offers improved traceability

Barcodes have long been used to help food stores keep track of the quantity of produce in stock. But when combined with IoT sensors, this data can now allow food industry operators to track food chains through from point of origin to shelf.

Tracking and traceability in this manner, effectively operating from one of the supply-chain to the other, enable suppliers to quickly discover the source of problems such as food contamination. Only once an area of concern has been pinpointed can action be taken.

Speaking to Internet of Business, Richard Neale, marketing director at cloud BI and analytics firm Birst, said that mastering supply chain management is the key to success for food retailers. “Networking sources of data together for analytics helps companies to do just that,” he said.
“Using data from devices, companies can get full, end-to-end insight into their supply chains to optimise operations as well as providing more insight for audit and compliance over time. We have worked with a GPS tracking and fleet management software company that uses Big Data to track and manage customers’ valuable assets. Two years ago, they had basic reports, but they were not able to do sophisticated industry benchmark analysis and predictive analytics around their operations. Today, this ability to get more insight has become a significant piece of their competitive advantage.”

Cloud-based software helps cut waste in food industry

Muddy Boots is a UK-based software provider for the food industry. Muddy Boots’ Head of Commercial, Jack Evans, told Internet of Business that bespoke cloud-based software can guarantee accuracy when it comes to assessing the supply chain.

“Systems, such as Muddy Boots’ Greenlight Quality Control notify users of any issues immediately, allowing them to pinpoint problem areas and resolve them quickly. For example, supermarkets using these systems can have total confidence that everyone – at their organisation and throughout their supply chain – is working to the correct requirements. This alignment ultimately reduces costly rejection and wastage, which in turn limits the risk of unfit produce reaching the shelves.”

Cloud-based software also transforms the management of complex supply chains,” he continued. If multiple users can log in and access a centrally managed system from anywhere in the world, duplication can be prevented, with key players having instant access to critical documentation.

“Costly errors can be avoided which could potentially damage the relationship between supplier and customer.”