man working in food manufacturing plant

3 Ways the Industry 4.0 Revolution Is Transforming Food Manufacturing

28 October 2020

The digital revolution is upon us – and the food industry is beginning to see the impact. In the race to adopt digitisation, food processors have uncovered opportunities for operational and monetary growth in their businesses. The transformation, dubbed “Industry 4.0", alters the landscape of the food industry to become a smarter, more connected supply chain.

1. Increased Operational Efficiency

Digital analysis platform technology can help ensure sustainable, profitable growth for the entire supply chain. This kind of technology can provide insight into equipment performance, predictive maintenance needs, and real-time inventory tracking.

Services like SEE™ Advanced Maintenance Programme, enabled by Sealed Air’s proprietary data connectivity solution, not only help identify inefficiencies within the production line but also provide actionable solutions and technical expertise. Its technology collects, stores and analyses operating data so plants have insight into their operations and can pinpoint inefficiencies. A critical component of the Advanced Maintenance Programme, SEE™ Smart Link technology, gives processors comprehensive visibility of their packaging operations and greatly improves field support through remote connectivity and data capture.

2. Improved Food Safety

The 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), put into place by the US Food and Drug Administration, has created a catalyst for global change in the food industry. Focusing on compliance, prevention, and the complexities of the global supply chain, this law steered the food industry toward a proactive mindset when it comes to food safety.

Building on what had already been accomplished through the FSMA, the US FDA released goals in July 2020 that push to create a digital, transparent and safer food system. Naming it the “New Era for Smarter Food Safety Blueprint”, it consists of four main pillars that centre around traceability, tools for outbreak prevention, retail modernisation and food safety culture.

Industry 4.0, focused on data and machine learning, uses technology such as real-time temperature tracking sensors. The sensors help companies closely monitor food safety data points, ensuring efficient cold chain management. This data enables the supply chain to work together to become compliant with local and global regulations. By using automated Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) checklists during the production, manufacturing, and transporting processes, companies have access to consistent, meaningful data that empowers them to implement food safety solutions.

3. Increased Consumer Loyalty

Consumers expect transparency from the companies they buy from – especially in the food industry. Implementing traceability along the global supply chain helps food companies win business by driving consumer trust and loyalty. Although domestic and international regulations can increase the complexity of the global food supply chain, this data can make it easier for both consumers and companies to track products.

The Industry 4.0 Revolution continues to help the food industry uncover ways to connect the food supply chain to real-time product data, creating endless opportunities for food manufacturers and retailers. Companies can reap the benefits by finding and solving inefficiencies in the supply chain, meeting and exceeding food safety regulations, and providing transparency to consumers.