The year 2020 was an implausibly challenging year for the Food and Beverage Industry. With the COVID-19 pandemic at its peak, a lot of companies suffered major losses in terms of logistics, supply chain and deliveries etc. With the dining restrictions and social distancing rules in place, people found it much easier to just cook at home and stick to staples, which was a huge loss for the industry. There have been several shifts witnessed in the food and beverage industry trends, in the past couple of years and it is interesting to see how things evolved in terms of technology over the period.
As the pandemic started to subside, the food and beverage industry began to reassess their business models and brought in new technologies to help them become more resolute against contingencies. Contact-less home deliveries of hygienically packed products have also been introduced by everyone from big manufacturers to small scale kitchens or retailers.
The dynamic innovation and technology nowadays, are the prime factors that helped save nearly every organization affiliated with the food and beverage industry as they navigate their way through the newly emerged contact-less and ever-so-connected age. With various new surfacing aspects like self-checkouts, contactless payments, pick-up & delivery services and ordering online, the industry can no longer stay ignorant of the fact that such trends are significantly aiding businesses in recreating themselves to maintain a competitive edge.
Let’s have a look at a few of the top food and beverage industry trends
- AI driven voice bots for restaurants- Voice bots can be plugged into a restaurant’s systems to enable faster and more efficient functioning. The AI driven voice bots can understand the consumers’ requests/orders, assess their gestures and behavior and also ‘talk’ to customers. This is a highly rising technology and is being adapted by a lot of big chain restaurants to make customer service a smoother and easier process.
- IoT technologies- A lot of businesses in the food and beverage industry are looking to expand their business models by introducing innovative operations that increase efficiency. IoT technologies utilize sensors that collect data and process them via cloud-based software programs. IoT devices also enable real-time food monitoring and product traceability.
- Big Data Analytics in the food and beverage industry- Information gathered through data analytics has become a crucial support system of the F&B industry in recent times. Big data analytics help boost results by facilitating quicker decision making capacities in regards to product development, promotion and demand forecasting. There are a lot of benefits of introducing Big Data into the world of Food and Beverages- higher profitability levels, increased marketing ROI, boosted sales, rising margins, enhanced consumer reach and many such others.
- The rise of Super Apps- As the name suggests, this is a platform that combines different apps and brings it to you as an integrated entity which is seamless and multi-functional. Some of the most common integrations in this kind of apps are for entertainment, ride, hailing and food delivery. This single tool works independently from various third parties and has proven to be a hit with the audiences. The famous “Grab” app is one such example, Zomato is another. Swiggy is a great example for the same in India, with its by-products like ‘Swiggy Genie’ and ‘Instamart’, which have gained momentum from the word go.
- Virtual Culinary Experiences- Mostly to do with creating visual experiences, in the past few years, there was much talk about how it can be incorporated into the culinary industry. With the use of this technology, there is recreation of virtual culinary experiences, which includes a VR headset, an aroma diffuser and a bone conduction transducer, which is a device that mimics chewing sounds, which are sent to the diner’s ear drums, through soft tissues and bones. In short people are able to enjoy virtual dining experiences, from any location.
- Consumer data-driven marketing- The use of Big data in the Food and Beverage industry has allowed manufacturers to gather multitudes of consumer data such as their preferences, dislikes, requirements etc. This helps the manufacturers to design, produce, pack, promote and price their products according to the wants of the majority of their consumer base. Consumer data-driven marketing has been recorded to have improved consumer satisfaction and increased profit margins significantly.
- Sustainability- sustainability has become the need of the hour in recent times. More and more people want their actions to have positive outcomes. ADM, a food technology company stated “sustainability takes center stage”, claiming that approximately two-thirds of the consumers want the food choices that they make to have a positive impact on the environment. Sustainability has become a key facet in the growth of market share and brand awareness and will continue to do so in the future as well.
- Blockchain in the Food and Beverage industry- since the food and beverage industry is a globalized one, managing the food supply chains becomes difficult and complex. Blockchain is a rising decentralized information technology that shows promise to be advantageous for the food supply chain through the way of minimizing transaction time and cost, enhancing process transparency, efficiency, security along with building trust among the involved parties.
The shift witnessed in food and beverage industry trends
With people being more conscious and involved in the kind of food they eat, how it is sourced and the processes it follows to reach their plates, manufacturers have upped their game. It is an exciting new arena where new trends are being witnessed everyday, new innovations being made as per the audiences’ needs and acceptance.