As consumers change over time, the food industry has to change with them. Food is an intricate part of people's everyday lives, which is why they expect it to keep up with what they love.
It's rewarding to adapt to the expectation of consumers because it results in increased brand loyalty. One of the biggest ways the food industry has changed over recent decades is by adopting new advances in technology.
Tech and food go hand in hand, and the innovation isn't likely to stop any time soon. Read on to learn more about how technology has been improving the food industry for both workers and consumers.
Online Ordering Improves Daily Life
Having an online presence is crucial for any food business. People go online to read about what a company is doing, how they've been in the news, and what they stand for.
Consumers also lookup food brands online when they want to order food. It's easier than getting on the phone to place and order and being put on hold during rush hours. Plus, online ordering allows for consumers to place more specific orders according to their preferences and food allergies.
Online ordering also makes it easier for restaurant workers to understand what the consumer wants. It's already been pre-selected or typed out by the person ordering the food. This minimizes miscommunication that could happen in person or over the phone.
It's easy to take the internet for granted because it's a huge part of how people live every day, but it's an advancement in technology that's resulted in better interactions between consumers and the restaurants they love.
Robots Change the Workforce
Robots have also made their presence known in the food industry. Before technology became so accessible, factories and restaurants were filled with employees who did minor tasks in assembly production lines.
They're so efficient that their annual sales reach $3.5 billion. That accounts for nearly 13 percent of all industrial industry robot sales in the western hemisphere.
Robots package meats, handle fruits and vegetables and even scan processed foods for accidental additives that shouldn't be there. They make food processing more hygienic and efficient, ultimately minimizing production costs for the factories that use them.
3D Printers Print Food
The rise of 3D printers was once something that people could only imagine. As time went on, the printers were developed with better technology so they can print more. They went from printing things for fun to printing things for the food industry.
It may not sound like 3D printed food could even be edible, but that's how much the world of printing has changed. It's been able to help people with swallowing disabilities, printing soft foods for people who are unable to chew.
NASA has even jumped on the 3D food bandwagon. The properties of printed food differentiate from those found in in naturally grown food, which makes them more compatible with space trips. They've printed a pizza for astronauts to try out, comparing it to the freeze-dried and powdered foods they're used to.
Apps Create Greener Alternatives
Another issue consumers have become concerned about in recent years is the need to go green and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. While a lot of that has to do with personal choices, people want to be able to support businesses that are also going green.
The food industry has caught on with this trend, using technology to have more sustainable business practices. Consumers know that the food industry in the United States alone wastes over $160 billion in food each year. That means fossil fuels and electricity used to produce that food was all for nothing, in addition to landfills being filled with rotting food.
That's where apps come in. Restaurants that face daily amounts of leftover food can use apps like Copia to connect with nearby organizations. Those organizations will take the food and donate it to food shelters or straight to hungry people in their area.
Minimizing waste is a green effort that isn't unseen by consumers. Using apps to make more sustainable business choices is a great way technology helps the food industry.
Catering Vans Deliver Better
When technology progresses, that usually means the tech becomes more compact and more powerful. While that's created useful things like apps, it's also resulted in updated features for catering vans.
Catering vans are used around the world every day, but they face the same challenges. They're small, windowless and difficult to use comfortably when transporting large orders.
That's why technology helps organize your catering van and make it more efficient. Smaller fridges and freezes prevent food from going bad when it has to be driven over long distances. Portable software on tablets and GPS units keep your catering team on track for success.
The goal with every catering order is to deliver fresh food to consumers on time. Technology helps with both aspects of this goal, which is why it's used to update catering vans every day.
Drones Monitor Healthier Crops
The food industry also includes the farms that produce the needed crops, and that part of the industry hasn't been left out of advances in technology.
In fact, technology has created precision agriculture, which uses tech to monitor all the important parts of a field. Tech makes soil testing and weather monitoring accessible through the same platform, instead of increasing the physical workload of agriculture workers.
Drones specifically have been implemented by the food industry to assist with agriculture. They can fly over fields to identify damaged or dying crops. They can also carry water and fertilizer, depending on the size of the drone.
Reducing the cost and time it takes to care for crops makes the food industry more efficient. Drones make this possible for people tending to fields of all sizes.
Tech Makes Things Easier
The food industry used to be riskier for everyone involved. Crops could go bad if someone slacked off on the job and there used to be no choice but to waste food every night.
Now, technology changes these issues and presents modern solutions to food industry experts. That's why it's been so quickly embraced by all involved, resulting in a more efficient and profitable industry.