While the produce industry as a whole still has a long way to go in terms of adopting newer and more efficient methods for doing things, technological advancements have given businesses the opportunity to increase productivity and cut down on operational costs in various ways.
Here are 5 recent advancements in the fruit and vegetable industry. Check out also how Silo can take your business operations into the future.
1. E-commerce is becoming widespread
While e-commerce isn’t new and would have seen more common use regardless, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated its rate of use. In the early months of the outbreak, the produce supply chain was forced to accommodate by innovating and providing more remote options as a safety measure.
Digital platforms offered customers online and on-demand delivery services, and since then, has never gone away. These distribution platforms not only give customers more choice, improving their experience, but also ensure availability and expand reach. This, in turn, boosts sales for wholesale distributors and retailers.
2. More tracking and traceability technologies are being developed for food safety
Tracking and traceability are vital to the safety of the vegetable and fruit industry. With customers these days becoming more wary about the products they buy, food safety is emerging as a mounting concern. In turn, businesses must be ready to trace their products down the supply chain and issue recalls at any given moment.
The complexity of this process has seen technologies being developed to make it faster and much more seamless. Scalable food monitoring platforms that connect and exchange data have surfaced as cost-effective solutions that enable comprehensive tracking and traceability.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, for example, strengthen traceability and streamline operations. Production and quality control become more efficient, reducing overall costs, positively impacting brand reputation, and building trust between all in the supply chain.
New tracking and traceability technology companies are expected to crop up to fulfill the need for more fortified processes.
3. File digitization has seen an increased need
Along with the need for better tracking and traceability, the importance of digitizing files is also receiving more attention in the produce industry.
Much of the industry still operates in the old school way, using paper files for documentation, but this proves to be wholly inefficient, especially during times of growth. As businesses grow, keeping track of every document on file becomes increasingly difficult.
As a result, companies are taking notice of the advantages of digitization. File digitization and automated data collection not only eliminate the likelihood of human error, but allow companies to benefit from better organization.
Converting paper information into a digital format is a secure and scalable solution that also makes sharing easier, enabling access across many departments and organizations no matter their location.
The produce supply chain only serves to benefit from digitization, making this advancement likely to see increased adoption over the years.
4. The fruit and vegetable industry is looking to integrate more robotics
Produce businesses looking to cut down on the amount of labor needed and save on overall costs have been increasingly incorporating robotics into their operations. Robotics allows businesses to operate on a greater scale during handling and production, advancing efficiency and consistency across the supply chain.
Whether it’s self-driving vehicles or drones to replace manual delivery, food processing robots, or handling machines at warehouses for tagging and monitoring, these substitutes for human workers lessen the burden of labor shortages while speeding up task completion and improving precision in quality control in the most cost-effective way.
5. Food waste and preservation efforts have increased
The produce industry grapples with two core issues: the perishability of produce and the resulting food waste that comes about from having to discard what was once perfectly good fruits and vegetables.
In fact, a large portion of the food produced nationwide ends up being wasted, with over one-third of all food produced in America never being eaten. As the population grows, food insecurity will become a heightened concern, making curbing food waste critical.
While data indicates that the majority of waste occurs on the consumer level, produce businesses that do waste products, no matter how small, can suffer significant profit loss over time. As a result, food waste reduction and preservation efforts have increased as companies see the potential to save on costs and minimize the environmental impact of throwing away excess.
Produce businesses are making strides by implementing things like tracking inventory more carefully and repurposing excess to generate value and increase outreach to customers concerned with sustainability.
Whether it’s making use of technologies that improve shelf life or working with companies that redistribute ‘ugly’ produce, it’s clear that addressing waste is becoming a more pressing issue that will bring about many creative industry advancements.
Take your business operations into the future with Silo
The latest fresh produce industry advancements point to the potential for a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable supply chain. Businesses looking to improve their operations should consider adopting modern technologies like Silo.
Silo is an ERP platform that offers solutions that optimize inventory, operational, and financial outcomes for small and medium sized produce businesses. Take a load off of your mind and digitize your business for easier inventory management, tracking and traceability, accounting, and more.
All information is centralized in one location, so everything you need is just a few clicks away. Make lot tracking, traceability, and recalls a breeze with immediate insights into comings and goings.
Our platform helps you take actionable steps towards business growth by allowing you to more easily calculate profit margins. With organized, easily-accessible data and reports, you can also be more proactive in minimizing waste and generating more profit.
Book a demo with Silo today!