How IoT Technologies Are Reshaping F&B in Asia-Pacific

Tuesday, May 28th, 2024

Exploring IoT’s transformative impact on Asia-Pacific’s F&B industry, enhancing efficiency, safety, and sustainability from farm to table. By Kimberly Ho, Sustainability Lead & Account Manager, DiMuto

The integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies is reshaping the Food & Beverage (F&B) industry across the Asia-Pacific region, marking a pivotal shift towards greater efficiency, food safety, and sustainability.

This technological evolution is facilitating unprecedented changes in how businesses approach production, distribution, and engagement, setting new standards for operational excellence.

Navigating the “Messy Middle”
Between 2000 and 2016, world agricultural trade increased more than threefold in value, rising to USD 1.6 trillion in 2016. While this burgeoning trade provides more food options on our plates, it also creates new risks. With longer and more complex supply chains giving rise to the “Messy Middle.”

In the face of global supply chain inefficiencies, IoT emerges as a critical solution. IoT technologies can help AgriFood businesses increase scrutiny and accountability throughout their supply chains.

By enabling detailed tracking and insights into the entire food production and distribution process, these businesses can obtain traceability and transparency and break down information silos.

IoT technologies, such as DiMuto’s Digital Asset Creation (DACKY) Devices, can assure traceability by tracking critical trade actions and processes. In particular, DACKY is able to link unique digital identities of each product or carton along the supply chain and link them to trade orders and photos at the time of packing.

Using such technology enables businesses to be able to monitor product quality conditions in real-time, apply predictive analytics to foresee and mitigate potential issues, and ensure the seamless flow of goods from farm to table.

These advancements not only contribute to reducing food waste significantly but also optimise resource utilisation, leading to cost savings.

IoT’s Impact on Food Safety and Quality Assurance
Food safety and quality are paramount in the F&B industry, where food recalls can cost companies an average of USD 10 million in direct costs alone and reputational damages.

Furthermore, consumers are wary to purchase products that were previously recalled or deemed unsafe for consumption – A Harris Interactive survey shows that 16 percent of consumers would never buy a recalled food product again, and 17 percent of people impacted by a recall would not buy any product from the same manufacturer.

This makes IoT’s role in maintaining the integrity of food products invaluable. Food safety can be ensured when IoT, such as sensors and cameras, are monitoring critical parameters such as time of trade actions and product quality throughout the supply chain.

Such data can be easily obtained when IoT is used in combination with other technology, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI).

For example, DiMuto’s proprietary Product Quality AI is able to analyse the colour, blemishes, size, and number of products in a carton based on photographs. When combined with IoT, such as DiMuto’s DACKY Device, F&B business can now instantly determine the quality of the goods and the presence of any defects.

This continuous monitoring helps ensure that products are stored and transported under optimal conditions, reducing the risk of contamination and spoilage.

Paving the Way for Sustainable Food Systems
With a growing consciousness of climate change and resilient food systems, there has been an increase in global regulations centred on sustainability and food safety.

For example, the US Congress passed the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) in 2011. This landmark legislation aimed to revolutionise the nation’s food safety system by shifting the focus from reactive measures to proactive prevention.

By adopting IoT technologies, AgriFood companies can gain critical insights to empower stakeholders to comply with such global sustainability standards and regulations.

Take, for example, the case of DiMuto’s DACKY Devices. DACKY can efficiently record critical tracking events (CTEs) within AgriFood packhouses, such as packing and palletising, while also taking photos of product quality at packing.

This digitisation ensures accurate and accessible records are maintained for each CTE, making it easier for companies to demonstrate compliance during audits and inspections. All this information is recorded and automatically collated for every single trade order.

By streamlining recordkeeping, automating reporting, and providing real-time visibility, IoT helps enhance food safety, reduce foodborne illnesses, and ensure regulatory compliance.

Ultimately, a more sustainable food system emerges, contributing to positive environmental impact and increased social responsibility.

Future Trends and Challenges
The integration of IoT in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry is experiencing significant growth, with trends focusing on supply chain visibility, data analytics, sustainability, cybersecurity, and interoperability.

Furthermore, consumers are demanding greater transparency, driving the need for real-time data on product origins, quality, and environmental impact.

However, as supply chains grow increasingly complex, managing and integrating data from various stakeholders along the supply chain poses another significant challenge, as different systems may use disparate formats and protocols, leading to data silos and interoperability issues.

Digital transformation platforms, such as DiMuto, plays a crucial role in managing these challenges by providing a platform that integrates IoT data with its trade management solutions, connecting various supply chain stakeholders together on a single platform.

This enables end-to-end visibility, traceability, and analytics, empowering companies to make informed decisions, optimise processes, implement sustainable practices, and enhance cybersecurity measures.

DiMuto’s focus on interoperability and adherence to industry standards further strengthens its ability to streamline operations and foster trust among consumers regarding the integrity and sustainability of F&B products.

The integration of IoT in the Asia-Pacific F&B industry signals a move towards a more sustainable, efficient, and consumer-focused future. As businesses continue to explore and adopt IoT solutions, they pave the way for a digital transformation that promises to meet current demands and anticipate future challenges.

The journey towards fully realising IoT’s potential in the F&B sector involves continuous innovation, addressing existing challenges, and embracing new opportunities for growth and sustainability.

In conclusion, the adoption of IoT technologies in the F&B industry of the Asia-Pacific region heralds a significant shift towards operational excellence and consumer engagement. By harnessing the power of IoT, businesses can navigate the complexities of food production and distribution more effectively, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for the industry.

As the digital landscape evolves, the F&B sector stands poised to embrace the myriad opportunities presented by IoT, driving innovation and growth in an increasingly connected world.