The food industry is in flux. The pandemic led to disrupted supply chains, more customer expectations, and an increased need for agility, efficiency, transparency, and sustainability. Innovation is now a necessity if companies within the agri-food industry are to remain relevant.
During the pandemic, many consumers were forced to look outside their preferred brands. They turned to online shopping and now expect personalized service from their chosen companies.
As a result, smaller brands must improve personalisation efforts if they are to compete. Larger brands also need solutions to regain lost market share from innovative upstarts. They also need to cultivate new ideas if they expect to grow.
It is also clear the agri-food supply chain must collect and track more data. Consumers are more concerned about their health and their food. As a result, they want to know what’s in what they buy, where their food came from, whether it is fresh, and whether a company’s food practices are sustainable or wasteful.
Food Industry Must Improve
The agri-food industry feeds most of the world. However, consumers are very concerned and with good reason.
About half of the habitable land in the world is used for agriculture and many practices have led to environmental degradation. Plus, about one third of all food produced is wasted.
Additionally, the global food system is responsible for between 21 and 37 percent of global greenhouse emissions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Consequently, there is much room and a pressing need for improvement in all aspects of the food industry.
Small Changes Can Yield Big Results
Since the industry encompasses so many sectors and fields, it is possible for companies to plot a path towards gradual improvements that yield big results. This can help companies overcome stakeholder pushback, as it is often possible to quickly enjoy a return-on-investment, making further change more plausible.
Additionally, technological innovation is available to companies of all sizes and innovation often levels the playing field too. Fast Company’s 2022 list of the most innovative food companies include several new players.
Eight-year-old AgroStar developed a platform that combines e-commerce, education, and a social network to help farmers improve methods, chat, monitor crops, and market their products. Two-year old Pod Foods introduces consumers to emerging food startups selling through major retailers via an app.
Innovation Can Occur in All Aspects of Business
Technological innovation isn’t limited to the farm or the lab. It can encompass everything from finding raw materials to delivering food to the customer. The following are just some of the ways technological innovation can help food industry businesses:
- Strengthening supply chains
- Improving transportation
- Reducing plant and crop disease
- Monitoring crops and livestock
- Lowering operational expenses
- Reducing food costs
- Tracking food nutrients
- Improving harvesting practices
- Creating plant-based meat substitutes
- Reducing food waste
- Managing surpluses
- Reducing energy consumption
- Preserving food in new or better ways
- Improving food safety and security
- Providing consumer traceability
- Finetuning backend processes
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Meeting net zero goals
- Employing robotics & automation to improve competitiveness
- Improving customer experiences
Plotting a Path Towards Food Industry Innovation
Clearly, technology can play a beneficial role in the food industry. However, many companies do not know how to plot a path towards technological change, or how to pinpoint suitable actionable innovations for their firm.
Nonetheless, it is vitally important that companies in the food industry innovate now. Climate change, dwindling resources, and regulatory changes are forcing companies to improve quickly. Fortunately, EarlyBirds can help.
We offer expertise, Subject Matter Experts, and an expansive marketplace of new and disruptive technologies. EarlyBirds also offers unique programs for ad hoc or supplementary needs, as well as ongoing transformational support.
EarlyBirds Innovation Ecosystem
The EarlyBirds Innovation Ecosystem is a Business-to-Business portal connecting Innovators, Early Adopters, and Subject Matter Experts. Early Adopters are leaders or influencers in an organisation eager to identify new and disruptive technologies. They want to seize opportunities, solve business challenges, or create new products and services.
The Ecosystem has a data pool of over 4 million global innovations that may already address your technological needs. Alternatively, organisations can list their challenges and creators will respond with appropriate actionable innovations.
EarlyBirds Explorer Program
The Explorer Program is tailored towards those who need innovation as a service to supplement existing innovation programs, or to conduct innovation projects when required.
EarlyBirds Challenger Program
The Challenger Program focuses on a single organisational or technical challenge. It looks for the most relevant innovators that meet your organisational, technical, and risk requirements.
The program is run by an EarlyBirds Subject Matter Expert who ascertains your needs. The SME then searches the data pool to identify and curate options for further evaluation. The most suitable option is chosen and the SME drafts a roadmap of next steps, POC, trial, or implementation.
We help organisations find direction and accelerate innovation, within their silo and through collaboration. Our expertise extends to the Food Industry, Public Sector, Operations & Maintenance, Manufacturing, Finance & Insurance, Energy, Education, Cybersecurity, and more.
If you’re interested in partnering for success, please register at https://earlybirds.io/, or contact us to discuss your needs.