There’s no denying that one of the most worrying issues we have to face today concerns food. In a planet that’s dealing with increasing problems from climate and demographic changes, developing more efficient ways to produce and distribute food around the world is a must. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO) estimates that world food production must rise 60% to keep pace with demographic growth.
Software for enhancing food production
This software type allows farmers to track and manage their crops by using predictive analytics tools. Through them, it’s possible to forecast the expected yield size, crop wastes and even the projected revenues. Precision agriculture software is capable of doing so much more for food production, including:
- Real-time insights: through sensors installed in the field, this tool can gather important data such as labor and inputs to closely monitor everything that can impact the crop yields.
- Field management: another important factor that can be controlled through this software is everything that has to do with the field and its conditions: things like crop rotations, manure, irrigation, tillage, and soil test results are all available through this application.
- Traceability: growing any kind of food is hard labor and needs numerous input for optimal performance. With this kind of digital software, it is possible to track the farming practices and inputs that allow bigger accountability of what goes into food production.
- Weather records: weather heavily impacts the crop yields, that’s why this software allows farmers to closely monitor it and anticipate it. With that information, it’s possible to control other important variables to ensure maximum protection for the crops.
Software for improving food manufacturing
After the food leaves the fields, it’s time for food manufacturers to process it and get it ready for distribution for final consumers. Of course, the food manufacturing process varies from one type of food to another, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all software solution that can work across the entire industry.
Be that as it may, food manufacturers, in general, can benefit from certain types of software. For instance, there are digital applications that can help food manufacturers ensure the quality and accuracy of their products, following the industry standards and regulations while helping to avoid costly mistakes. Through traceability and inventory management, software can help maintain close adherence to those standards.
There are a lot of tasks within food manufacturing that can be done with the help of software: complying with food safety standards, checking ingredients, handling recipes, tracking expiration dates, and predicting fluctuations in consumer demand. Of course, there’s also the possibility to use digital tools to manage other aspects less closely related to the food itself, such as administrative tasks and human resource management.
Though using software for food manufacturing entails several benefits, the main one is maximizing the efficiency in one of the most competitive industries around. The food industry is usually a very aggressive market that relies heavily on technology to maximize its performance. Today, even small companies have it difficult to survive in such a context without the aid of software solutions.
Software for food distribution
The distribution process for the food industry is not like the typical distribution process from any other industry. Naturally, there are certain things in common, like the need to keep a regular stock, the goal to cut costs in transportation, and the aim to maximize the business’ efficiency. However, since food is a highly regulated product (especially in perishable goods), food distribution becomes a complex endeavor that companies have to deal with carefully.
Thus, food distributors have to carefully plan and balance countless factors, from the inventory they are about to distribute and the fleet they’ll use to do so, to the consumer demand and the shelf life of the distributed goods. Planning all is a tricky balancing act that gets easier with dedicated software at its core. That’s because a software removes the guesswork when anticipating demand and managing existing inventories.
Additionally, the use of modern technologies (such as artificial intelligence and machine learning) can take the software to the next level, improving every aspect of the distribution process. In other words, a well-designed software can suggest better distribution routes, closely monitor the performance of the fleet, identify potential opportunities for growth, and recommend preventive maintenance for machines used in the distribution.
In fact, centralized software for food distribution can provide data in real-time that lets managers anticipate shifting demands and better understand the whole distribution cycle. Thus, the software can provide information to adjust inventory to the changing demands to ultimately maximize revenue and reduce overall costs.
Software for food conservation
Approximately one-third of the food produced in the entire world (around 1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted every year. There are several reasons for that, from educational and societal reasons to conservational reasons. While better education can help cut that amount of waste, the use of software can help in food conservation, prolonging the time it stays fresh or fit for consumption. Here, the biggest opportunity is there to take for restaurants and similar venues where food is served and where most of that waste takes place.
Good software can help a restaurant in the management of its kitchen practices to cut the amount of waste. There are several ways in which a digital tool can help, including:
- Waste tracking and analytics: tracking what goes into the waste bin, its amount and the reason it got discarded can lead to a better understanding of what’s happening inside a kitchen. Through software analytics, a restaurant owner can identify how much goes to waste and decide whether that amount is justifiable or if it can be reduced through better staff education.
- Inventory management: a lot of the time, food goes to waste in a restaurant because the business buys more to cover its offering to later discard food that wasn’t used. Through a tailor-made software solution, restaurants can forecast the demand and the amount of food needed to prepare the dishes, depending on the available historical data.
- Menu optimization: software for restaurants can also help in the preparation of the menu itself. Through the analysis of different datasets, a software can suggest ingredient replacements according to the season, optimal amounts for preparation, portion adjustments, and even new dishes based on the overstock of certain products.
- Produce specifications: one of the things that restaurants have to keep a close eye on is the produce, since its shelf life is shorter than other kinds of goods. Thus, knowing the produce in stock and its specifications, the kitchen can better understand the overall production cycle and adjust the menu accordingly to avoid costly wastes.
Summing it all up