Exponential rise of population every year, has put a deep strain on the food industry that are striving to produce enough food for everyone.
Lack of biodiversity, excessive waste, poor health due to over consumption as well as massive food poverty are some of the critical aspects that are plaguing the modern world.
Despite having more than adequate supply of food produced worldwide, the number of deaths happening due to malnutrition has not abated in the least.
The underlying cause of this is that most of the food products gets rejected even before they reach the shops due to their inability to match up to the standards of the supermarkets.
Thus, resulting in the rise of post-harvest damages that remain unaccounted for.
According to a report, the production of food to feed around 12 billion is more than enough to satisfy the current population and yet more than one billion people are either malnourished or remain underfed.
The issue lies in the inadequate agriculture practices as well as lack of stable food supply chain all the way to our homes, wherein food wastage happens excessively in economically developed countries.
As the race to adopt digitization is rising day by day and newer technologies are emerging, the model to achieve digitized as well as smart supply chain has emerged.
Integration of IoT in Food Supply Chain has risen up as one of the most successful models so far.
Why is IoT in Food Supply Chain a Necessity?
Before discussing about the role of IoT in Food Supply Chain, we should better understand the basic framework of a food supply chain and how it works.
Collectively called as “Farm to Fork,” food supply chains comprise all of the activities involved in the processing of raw materials into consumer-ready food products.
Starting from sourcing, then processing, handling, distribution, and lastly the sale of the end packaged product while managing and documenting all these activities simultaneously, sums up the skeletal structure of a common food supply chain.
Introduction of IoT in Food Supply Chain is doing wonders to the field as IoT is enabling public as well as private companies to better manage every aspect of the food supply chain.
Ranging from home deliveries to better crop management, IoT is simplifying the data collection process and in turn, utilizing this data to make insightful predictions that lead to better business decisions.
How is IoT in Food Supply Chain Changing the World for Better?
Let’s take a look at some of the aspects that have been impacted with the integration of IoT in Food Supply Chain.
Drones for Efficient Crop Management
Starting from sourcing, that is collecting raw materials, one needs to have an efficient crop management system to produce the best yield. This where IoT in Food Supply Chain comes into action as various real-time sensors can be invested across the farmland to get real-time insights of crop conditions.
Smart Drones in farming enables food suppliers to monitor and anticipate any unwanted changes to their crops.
Since drones can quickly fly over miles of farmland to either capture a photo or a video of the crops in real time, farmers can quickly identify any problems and take necessary action.
Some drones are also capable of collecting data on weather conditions as well as what’s happening at the ground level.
Inventory Sensors for Warehouse Management
As we now move on the management of inventory, keeping track of which food is facing shortage can be a challenge for some manufacturers and retailers.
Nonetheless, IoT in Food Supply Chain has solution for this too as with the introduction of pressure-sensitive sensors, companies are now capable to always know the real-time status of any type of inventory and also when they need to place a new food order. Sensor will also alert the company when the supply needs to be restocked.
Smart Thermostats for Better Quality Assurance
Since food recall is a big issue when it comes to food wastage due to temperature sensitive food, food companies need to make sure their products are safe for public consumption.
But the risk of food recall increases while travelling for delivery as there’s always a chance that certain temperature-sensitive items may get too warm, leading to a food-borne illness risking the lives of people as well as damaging company’s reputation.
Here integration of IoT in Food Supply Chain comes as a blessing as companies can now invest in temperature-controlled packaging like smart thermostats to monitor the temperature of their products in real time.
Smart Sensors in Automated Production
Another utilization of IoT in Food Supply Chain can be seen during the production process. Sensors can be utilized to perk up quality control, products tracking, as well as providing real-time analysis for production.
For example, in flour production, sensors can inspect the colour and specks throughout the production process, that helps to immediately rectify any inaccuracy.
Despite stating all these benefits above of IoT in Food Supply Chain, there is no silver bullet to solve every problem facing the current food market. But the potent combination of automation and IoT can cause a great rift in tackling the current root causes.