Top tech predictions for food and beverage in 2024

Automatic Agricultural Technology with Robotic Arm Harvesting Lettuce

January 30, 2024By Marcel Koks

The food and beverage sector is constantly changing. This year, businesses need to navigate a dynamic landscape that demands heightened adaptability. Challenges such as labor shortages, climate change, and supply chain disruptions have persisted over the years, and food and beverage companies have felt the impact on their operational strategies and financial bottom line.

To succeed and stay competitive, businesses should harness technological advancements to overcome these challenges, while simultaneously trying to adapt to evolving consumer preferences.

Here are some anticipated trends and predictions that food and beverage organizations should consider in 2024:

1. Technology is the solution and it’s already here

The power of technology will continue to offer the food and beverage industry many opportunities, from improving supply chain management and addressing labor shortages to promoting the development of sustainable products. However, many still perceive technology as a bottleneck with little understanding of the vast potential applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and how they drive profitability. 

These technologies are readily available and easily implemented through the cloud. Meaning businesses can quickly adopt them to remain agile and responsive. On the cloud, companies will have access to unlimited resources, granting scalability to adapt to sudden shifts in consumer preferences or surges in demand.  

The cloud's omnipresence will drive innovation and organizations that experiment with AI and ML algorithms will gain a competitive advantage.

2. Leveraging data to improve the bottom line

From improving yield in raw materials to making better customer recommendations, data analytics will continue to play a crucial role in optimizing business operations. For example, we can understand consumer behavior and provide personalized recommendations by analyzing extensive datasets, including past purchases, preferences, and real-time interactions.

Furthermore, leveraging big data and applying predictive analytics will allow businesses to anticipate and prevent potential issues within the manufacturing process or in the supply chain. This includes foreseeing machine failure, enhancing food safety processes, and improving energy usage to maximize efficiency and minimize downtime. These are just a few applications of how data can be leveraged to improve the bottom line.

3. Consumer demand for traceability and transparency will expand

With the media continuing to highlight sustainability issues, people will become more and more aware of the environmental impact of their choices. Consumers will seek more information about the food and beverages they buy and demand corporations to be transparent about their sustainability claims. They will switch to brands that champion minimizing waste, environmental impact, and improving animal welfare. Effective traceability and transparency systems can highlight promising practices and communicate them to consumers.

Similarly, food safety and regulatory compliance will continue to stress on the importance of traceability throughout the supply chain. Regulations like the FSMA final rule on requirements for additional traceability records for certain foods, set to be enforced in January 2026, will introduce new record-keeping requirements across the food and beverage supply chain. While this requires more resources, its importance cannot be overstated as it will help stakeholders in the supply chain to quickly share information and identify and remove potentially unsafe food faster, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses or deaths.

4. Worker shortage will continue

As the industry grapples with a worker shortage, automation will take center stage to mitigate the issue. Success will lie in pairing the right technology to automate appropriate manual activities. RPA will be crucial to help us automate mundane and repetitive tasks, addressing workforce shortages and freeing human resources for higher-value work. For instance, RPA can monitor stock levels and automatically place orders when it reaches a certain point. This enhances accuracy, efficiency, and productivity, which is vital in managing perishable products.

Cultivating engaging work environments will be essential to attract top talent in the younger generation. This includes providing self-service applications, ensuring ease of use, and fostering opportunities to continuously improve legacy processes.

Task automation will also extend beyond the confines of the factory floor and into administrative processes. Naturally, there will be a need for workforce adaptation and upskilling to ensure current employees are equipped for evolving ways of working and new roles.

5. Emphasis on sustainability will persist

Regulatory developments, such as reporting requirements from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Corporate Sustainability Reporting Drive (CSRD) will lead a global push for environmental responsibility. At the same time, the industry's vulnerability to climate change will continue to drive the need for sustainable approaches and strategic adaptation to ensure a reliable supply chain. Therefore, businesses must maintain sustainable manufacturing practices while navigating the impacts of climate change.

Three emerging technologies at the forefront

To successfully evolve your business in 2024 it’s essential to explore AI, ML, RPA, and Blockchain to see how these emerging technologies can help your business overcome challenges while seizing opportunities for growth and innovation.

AI and ML

AI and ML require large volumes of data to learn and improve decision-making processes. In the food and beverage industry, AI and ML can be used to analyze real-time data to predict outcomes and provide data-driven recommendations to enhance efficiency across the supply chain.

A compelling example is the way global goat cheese provider Amalthea addressed inconsistent milk composition issues—a very costly problem. With the application of Infor AI and CloudSuite Food & Beverage, they successfully implemented AI-driven yield deviation detection. By monitoring real-time production, fat-protein content in raw milk, temperature, humidity, and machine settings, AI suggested adjustments in processes to improve the milk yield, leading to an expected saving of approximately 500,000 euros for every one percent increase in yield. In addition to improving yield and saving costs, Amalthea also enhanced efficiency, customer loyalty, and sustainability.

AI and ML are also vital to offering robust tools to control inventory levels, monitor shipments, and maintain real-time visibility over the entire supply chain. They can alert us to potential supply chain disruptions or product quality issues, allowing us to act proactively.

Advanced analytics of AI and ML are necessary for carbon tracking, decarbonization, ESG reporting, and energy optimization. It is instrumental to help our organizations achieve net-zero carbon goals and identify opportunities for reducing environmental impact and adhering to regulatory requirements.


RPA addresses various aspects of the food and beverage industry. It can automate repetitive tasks such as data entry, document management, and critical information gathering. These tasks are prone to human error, which leads to additional costs, wasted time, and decreased productivity.

With Infor RPA, you can delegate these tasks to software application programs. When handling data, tasks like data entry, validation, and processing can be executed with unparalleled precision and speed, saving hours to days of manual labor. It can also automate processes that optimize resource usage and minimize waste. For instance, in sustainability reporting, RPA streamlines the collection and analysis of carbon tracking and ESG reporting data.

RPA can unlock new levels of efficiency and sustainability in the industry.

Blockchain technology

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that enables secure, transparent, and tamper-proof recording of transactions across multiple companies. It is a decentralized and verifiable record-keeping method, which means that once information is stored in a blockchain, it is exceedingly difficult to change or falsify.

This makes blockchain crucial for accuracy in transparency and traceability systems. It tracks and records information about a product's journey, helping us to provide consumers with detailed knowledge about the food's origin, quality, and safety. A consumer can scan a QR code on a product and access information stored on the blockchain, such as where the ingredients were sourced, how the product was processed, and its transportation details.

With blockchain, you also have a reliable method to track and verify the environmental impact of your operations, as it is transparent and tamper-resistant. It creates an unalterable record of carbon emissions, resource usage, and adherence to sustainable practices and compliance. This provides a trustworthy and auditable record of sustainable practices.

Strategies to adopt emerging technologies in 2024

To embark on a strategic approach in adopting any technology, we recommend that you start with the business use case to pinpoint areas within your operations that can benefit from innovation. Only then can you look for technological solutions that align with your business needs. This path ensures a more refined and effective technology implementation in your organization.

You can then leverage data intelligently to enhance decision making and boost the bottom line. This includes using data analytics, AI, and ML to glean insights for streamlining production, optimizing supply chains, and improving customer experiences.

Finally, adopting an incremental approach through pilot programs to test emerging technologies is necessary. This allows for controlled testing and feedback collection before it is scaled up throughout the organization.

How Infor helps businesses in the food and beverage industry

With Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage, businesses are equipped with the latest technologies, including AI, ML, and RPA, to navigate the evolving challenges in the industry to find a competitive advantage. Our cloud-based digital platform ensures that you’ll always have access to the latest industry features and regulatory upgrades paired with the highest level of security protocols.

To learn more, watch the insightful webinar on "Feeding the Future: 2024 Tech Predictions for Food Manufacturing" to stay ahead of the curve. Watch here.

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