In the past year and a half, the global COVID-19 pandemic put a stress test on many industries like never before. Digital transformation has been underway for quite some time, particularly in the food industry, but certainly skyrocketed during a period of lockdowns and consumer shift.
The impact of consumer behaviour
In response to the growing consumer demand, suppliers and manufacturers are starting to follow ethical and sustainable practices. The demand for organic food has been increasing in recent years, mainly due to health benefits. Other factors such as an improved distribution chain and increased consumer income has led to this growth. Moreover, the onset of the pandemic has given the organic food industry a significant boost. A global health crisis not only puts a spotlight on consumer health, it has increased the accessibility to online delivery platforms.
Much more than that, the food industry has long been plagued with issues such as wastage, unethical agricultural and labour practices and corruption. As national conversations shed light on these issues, consumers are now demanding more from their suppliers than just food.
From here, we find a rise in regulations, with more on the horizon, for ensuring that the industry is held to a societal standard. Along with safety precautions being a key area of focus, a reduced workforce also poses challenges in production and management.
New systems and business models have to be put in place to ensure continuity and survival of food suppliers under the watchful eyes of consumers and the law. Many key players in manufacturing have also established a set of sustainable goals to work towards a better future. This brings about the question: in this new environment, what’s keeping businesses accountable and close to their goals?
Digital transformation in the food industry
Across the globe, digitisation accelerated seven years faster than predicted before. B2B and B2C businesses were ramping up their digital operations and pivoting to online channels faster than ever. The food industry was not spared from this tremendous upheaval. From working on sustainable sourcing and farming, to implementing digital tools and ensuring that all stakeholders are better connected, this change of mind came as a result of a large paradigm shift in the food industry.
The implementation of technology and digital tools for improving traceability and positively impacted efficiency in the food supply chain. Much of these operations, like safety control, are traditionally conducted manually and prone to human error. By digitising the manufacturing process, the food industry is able to leverage digital means such as machinery or ‘digital product passports’ to validate food safety and ESG compliance. For one, digital product passports include all the information about the components of a product and additional information, enabling long-term control and transparency in production.
Leveraging on new concepts and digital tools, the food industry can lower instances of food fraud, boost operational efficiency and scalability, and stick to ESG objectives.
Realising value and building trust through blockchain
It is time that the burgeoning food industry takes the steps towards sustainable agriculture, reducing carbon footprint and its impact on the environment. The pressure on the industry, from regulators and society, highlights a need for initiative and building trust between supplier and consumer. As the demand for transparency increases, enterprises need to have tangible and reliable proof of an ethical supply chain.
By using blockchain-powered solutions to back their operations, food manufacturers can map and trace data on their supply chain, and provide this data whenever they are required to. At its core, blockchain technology greatly improves supply chain management by centralizing the flow of data and enhancing traceability on a secure network.
Otherwise known as the “trust platform”, it uses a shared ledger to provide a single source of truth that cannot be duplicated or edited elsewhere. Especially when it involves a large number of parties, blockchain essentially streamlines the food supply chain and uses data-backed evidence to build trust.
Amidst a paradigm shift in the food industry, there are new opportunities to tap into to improve the industry and its macro-environment. With new technologies such as blockchain, agricultural suppliers now have a highly-scalable, cost-efficient solution to enhance their supply chain.
Finboot is a world-class blockchain application for enterprises to boost transparency and traceability, bringing value to consumers and stakeholders. By providing corporations with a reliable source of data, Finboot can bring real-time results and evidence for companies to verify and be accountable to their sustainable goals and future-proof them against an increasingly digital world.