The pandemic played a significant role in the changes and progressions forced onto the Food & Beverage industry.
Not only did Covid 19 affect industries, but it also affected consumers. What was once the well-known expectations and wants of consumers has shifted. More than ever, there is an emphasis on technology and its solutions.
This evolution was scary at the time. But now, the opportunities that have been made available are exciting!
There is so much potential for growth and progression within the Food & Beverage industry, and though it took a serious few hits during the pandemic, it’s rearing to make one hell of a comeback.
Top 5 F&B Trends You Should Know About
We have entered an era of convenient contactless and secure connections and the processes we knew so well have changed. Because of this, the F&B industry can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to their need to adopt new and practical solutions.
Forced to adapt to new demands by pandemic consumers and the changing times, restaurants that resorted to digital solutions are the ones profiting in our post-pandemic society. These in-demand upgrades provide consumers with the futuristic and digital experience they now expect.
During the pandemic, efforts were made to abide by social distancing guidelines, and some of these solutions may have come to stay.
This includes digital menus, self-service kiosks, cashless payment through e-wallet software solutions, and curbside pickups. And then there are the more interactive trends; chatbots and voice bots are still an up-and-coming tool that assists consumers in real-time.
Created to replace the repetitive manual tasks these tools save businesses time, money, and human errors, while also aiding a positive Customer Experience (CX).
They are also ideal for collecting relevant consumer data to analyze data-driven insights. With a custom tweak, restaurants can tailor responses and the information they offer – adding an individual touch to consumer interactions. Pair all of this with AI-enabled features, and an unparalleled advantage is provided.
The potential for this is limitless; tools can be combined and customized to offer a truly personalized experience. With options to upgrade all business areas, trending technologies can be implemented from online registries to e-menu &e-payments. Restaurant workflows can be streamlined with financial and hospitality management software.
Digital Food Management
Across the vast supply chain, big data analytics and AI have started to be utilized alongside real-time monitoring. And the result is an effective solution to digital food management.
Pairing this tool with other trends such as restaurant digitization allows for a thorough acquisition of supplier, manufacturer, retailer, and consumer data. It optimizes the behavioral analysis of this chain and demand forecasting using real-time data acquisition.
Overall, a thorough overview of market requirements and predicted disruptions is offered, which is ideal for being able to, for instance, effectively reduce losses and manage surplus food.
An impressive example is quantum computing which helps startups analyze critical disruptions *cough* such as pandemics and even simulate market fluctuations. Brand and marketing strategies can be optimized to reach relevant audiences and boost sales.
Food Waste Reduction
The awareness around food waste has continued to grow over recent years. Consumers are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from and how much waste is created from production and product packaging.
With global warming looming over us all, consumers are more aware of their environmental impact than ever. Now they are looking for progressions towards upcycling, zero waste, reduced carbon footprints, and water conservation.
With food monitoring solutions, food producers, sellers, and smart cities reduce their food waste. Plenty of solutions attempt to evolve reduced food waste to zero waste; that is and should be the goal after all.
Food waste tracking systems implement tracking modules that oversee and note poor food quality control, warehouse slotting, spillovers, theft, shelf life, overstock, and more. This data is then collected and compiled into a readable and actionable composition that can be analyzed.
Though the pandemic slowed down this progression, food brands are still trying to upcycle and reuse food waste to generate value and increase consumer reach and responses (regarding sustainability).
As Gen Z comes into more purchasing power, businesses need to be aware of a trending shift in the demand for food waste reduction. Current issues with single-use plastics and municipal recycling systems will only go further under the microscope.
And though products like paper straws, compostable trays/bags, and bulked-produce seem like a solution, they won’t last.
When first introduced, businesses cautiously approached robots only to drop them quickly; understandably, they seemed more like a half-baked cookie solution than a full-fledged cake with the cherry on top.
But now, with tweaks and technological advancements, robots are recognized as a revolutionary solution across all processes and industries. It’s even been predicted that in the next 5 years, the number of robots per 10,000 employees will rise by 47%! All of a sudden those sci-fi movies are seeming realistic, aren’t they?
When situated in warehouses and grocery stores, drones and food handling robots enable a faster and more cost-effective food-tagging and monitoring process. Robotics expedites food production revenues with enhanced speed, efficiency, and precision from burger-flipping to mass production.
Robots have snuggly into the food and beverage industry and its processes. They’ve even been deployed as a hospitality solution in hotels and restaurants, improving consumer safety, convenience, and overall experiences.
Though the food & beverage industry seemed two steps behind with technology, the adoption of robotics has led to leaps and bounds in advancements. And by 2028, the food robotics market will be worth $2 billion8.
3D Food Printers
You’ve probably heard of 3D printing your own lego, well that’s cool but let’s make it edible.
Not long ago, we had FDM printing and Additive Manufacturing (AM) methodologies like material extrusion printing. But these solutions continued to be developed, ensuring increased quality and precision of 3D-printed food products.
It was common for manufacturers to use standard and outdated food printing methods, but revolutionary tools like lasers, bioprinting, and inkjet food printing are being implemented. With 3D printing tools, it’s easier than ever to produce precise and reproducible nutritional products that, for instance, abide by dietary and protein-based rules.
These tools allow brands the freedom to personalize their products on a large scale without complex costs and margin for error. With this automated process, the potential for food creations is near limitless.
Consumer Demands and Trendy Ideas
From the trends listed here, it’s evident that concerns and ideas are being acted upon. But this isn’t any good unless steps are taken to implement them.
By identifying new opportunities and emerging food tech, such as those mentioned here, businesses and vendors stand to gain a real competitive advantage that will upgrade and streamline their processes and enhance their business-customer relationship.
The food & beverage industry is a tough market, and implementing a single solution, tool, trend, or technology will not be enough to go head-to-head with what awaits.
Businesses need to equip themselves with up-to-date technologies for a battle-ready strategy against competitors. And combined with a custom touch, this strategy will be legendary.
Though the Covid-19 pandemic halted progressions and plans, it hasn’t stopped the F&B industry from having an exciting future with technology. From printed pizzas to C-3PO cooking dinner, the future of food is here.