The future of food (II): Technology
01Technology is significantly changing the way we live and transforming how we shop, cook and eat. Access to the Internet and social networks has also had an impact on the relationship between consumers and supplying companies.
Never before have companies had as much information and feedback from consumers as now. Customer satisfaction is a guarantee that things are being done correctly and the organization (whether a large company or a small restaurant) capable of quickly adapting its offer to consumer demands is the one that will succeed.
Beyond social media, we would like to review the main technologies that at Sant Dalmai we believe will be relevant to food production and food industry in general.
Traceability, transparency and blockchain
Traceability will be increasingly important in the world of food, as consumers will demand to know, not only the ingredients of a product, but also the origin of each one of them, the production process followed and even the values of the companies that manufacture them. Transparency and clarity of information will be key to gain customer’s trust which will be increasingly relevant in their purchase decision.
Over 20 years ago at Sant Dalmai we implemented a computerised system to control our production processes in order to offer reliable and relevant data regarding traceability. Since then, we haven’t stopped working in order to improve the information provided.
It seems that in the future blockchain technology will be the one to ensure to the customers that the data provided by companies is truthful and reliable. However, we believe this technology still needs to develop in other sectors, mainly in services, before being implemented widely in the food industry.
The increasing monitoring of processes and equipment in the industry is generating a multitude of data that, conveniently analyzed, provides very valuable information for companies. “Big data” offers to possibility to analyze this data and see what until now was hidden. This will open infinite possibilities of improvement:
- Adapt processes to make them more sustainable and efficient
- Foresee actions and / or deviations
- Anticipate the appearance of nonconformities
Two of the main characteristics of Sant Dalmai are flexibility and a high level of adaptation to the needs of each client. Automation in this context is complicated due to short and not very standardized productions. Nevertheless, the evolution we are seeing in robots leads us to believe it is possible in the near future to incorporate robots that will support people in their tasks, complementing their job and improving their work environment.
In any case, and due to the ease of replicating a production model based on robots, at Sant Dalmai we are convinced that it will be precisely people that will create a differential value. Having the best team of professionals will be essential to develop added value products and offer a customer service that makes a difference.
The demand for safer, fresher and more appetizing food means that the use of new technologies cannot be limited to production but it must happen at all stages of the supply chain.
- Food preservation: high hydrostatic pressures, electric pulses, …
- Cleaning and disinfection: steam, cold plasma, …
- Maintenance: Creation of spare parts with additive manufacturing (3D printing) …
- Analytical techniques: biotechnology, Terahertz spectroscopy …
We will see how technology evolves, which advances we will incorporate over time and which will be just anecdotes along the way.