The Canadian meals trade is dealing with quite a few challenges, from labour shortages and provide chain disruptions, to rising enter prices and altering client expectations. Many of those challenges will be addressed by automating processes to allow them to be made sooner, safer, and extra dependable.
Whereas the shift to automation has been slower within the meals trade than in different industries, the usage of automation, robotics and information analytics has the potential to rework Canada’s meals and beverage trade. By investing in know-how, the trade might change into extra agile, traceable, and clear, whereas rising capability and making certain our meals provide chain stays robust, protected, sustainable, and aggressive on the earth market. Automation additionally has the potential to assist with labour attraction and retention, since it could actually make work safer for workers, can enhance profitability for companies, and even assist them broaden into non-traditional areas reminiscent of in airports, accommodations, and conferences.
The Canadian Meals Innovation Community (CFIN) is a not-for-profit group with a mandate to assist develop Canada’s financial system by serving to to speed up innovation within the meals trade via connections, collaborations, and investments throughout Canada’s meals ecosystem. CFIN presents funding applications and companies that assist meals companies, and their companions carry progressive concepts
Seeing is believing
This previous spring CFIN introduced Robotics in Motion: Seeing is Believing, a digital occasion hosted by Jim Beretta, president of Buyer Attraction, which focuses on robotics, automation and functions. Beretta spoke with a number of Canadian entrepreneurs whose firms are main technological change within the meals trade, and demonstrated automation options at Western College, together with Mycionics, Ghost Kitchen Manufacturers and 168 Sushi, and robotic methods from SJW Robotics, Anubis 3D, Gastronomous Applied sciences, JMP Options, Armo Instrument and Tiny Mile Robotics. Beretta was additionally a speaker at Meals and Beverage Journal’s latest Max Uptime occasion, the place he introduced How Robotics is Altering Meals.
Some key takeaways from the shows are:
Automation and robots don’t scale back jobs
Robots and computerized methods are designed to do the duties which might be harmful, soiled, or repetitive, and are an answer to present labour shortages within the trade. Whereas robots carry out duties reminiscent of selecting and packing, staff are freed as much as full extra value-added and expert duties. Collaborative robotic methods are designed with added safeguards so that they work side-by-side with their human counterparts.
The price of automation is dropping
Within the final decade, prices of implementing computerized methods or robotics have fallen, whereas efficiency and consistency have elevated dramatically. There are additionally many new developments in gripping know-how, resolving older robotic challenges reminiscent of distinguishing between different-sized and formed merchandise or containers.
Robotic methods match into current operations
Automation methods and robotics are actually simpler to combine into meals operations and are sometimes designed in order that firms can add one piece of know-how at a time, making certain success and employee consolation. Working along with know-how firms, meals companies can combine plug-and-play elements or create distinctive, custom-designed system that includes completely different know-how modified to suit their wants.
Automation permits operators to optimize vitality and supplies
Expertise that gives meals producers with real-time information analytics permits them to optimize the usage of vitality and uncooked supplies, scale back meals and vitality waste, and obtain increased manufacturing capacities. Knowledge analytics will also be used to foretell preventative upkeep within the system and stop drops in throughput. Many firms depend on robotics that concentrate on sanitary compliance to assemble meals safely and reliably reminiscent of protein and raw ready-to-eat meals for retail or healthcare, the place protected meals dealing with is essential.
Automated foodservice choices go far past merchandising
Fast-service kiosks that provide a variety of cold and hot meals decisions like salad, pizza and cooked noodles are showing on campuses, in malls, and in different public areas. Far past merchandising machines, the kiosks supply made-to-order meals ready when you watch in simply minutes, with quite a lot of customizations and fee choices obtainable. With a low carbon footprint and minimal labour wants, the kiosks have the potential of changing QSR items in some places.
Dana McCauley is the Chief Expertise Officer on the Canadian Meals Innovation Community.