Despite global business challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, results of an exclusive new study reveal that food and beverage companies and influencers continue to invest in digital technologies that advance productivity, efficiency, sustainability and food safety. In terms of inhibitors to more digital adoption, 51% of industry respondents cited knowing how to use and integrate technology as being the biggest barrier. Lack of budget was also a major factor identified in the report, with 50% of respondents selecting the issue as one of their top three barriers.
The study—commissioned by Aptean and conducted on a blind basis in the U.S. and UK by international news and media organization Reuters Events—polled over 300 C-suite food and beverage executives and thought leaders in the field. The results were exclusively presented at Aptean’s inaugural Food and Beverage 2020 Global Symposium last week.
Quantitative research from the study indicates that over three-quarters of food and beverage industry respondents are currently increasing or maintaining their investments in digitalization. Not only are they investing in digitalization, 64% reported seeing good or advanced progress in the move to digital.
“While there is a significant move to digital technologies across the food and beverage industry, it’s interesting to see that companies hesitating to invest found know-how to be even more critical than budget,” said TVN Reddy, CEO of Aptean. “In part, the data shows delayed decisions are due to lack of internal knowledge about how to integrate new technologies with existing processes. For these companies, partnering with the right provider that’s deeply focused on improving manufacturing operations through technologies specifically built for their industry is a critical step to ensuring success throughout a digital transformation journey.”
Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology at the Produce Marketing Association, explained, “The problem of integration has been one of the biggest barriers to more adoption, but technological evolution is changing this for the better. Businesses struggle with interoperability and tons of data that doesn’t mesh. Now, companies like Aptean are coming along and saying, ‘let me gather all that stuff for you into one graph on a dashboard—we’ll train you and show you the way.’”
The research also indicates that there are clear areas where digital technologies are already having a strong impact across the food chain. Supply chain operations emerged as offering the highest reward, with 51% of respondents choosing it as one of the top business functions where they are benefiting from technology. Other areas in which digital transformation is creating impact are in data capture (38%) and reporting and business analytics (37%).