Ann Savage on the future of chilled food manufacturing


What is the right environment for chilled food innovation? Ann Savage, former Group Technical Director at Bakkavor spoke at the Food Manufacturing 2030 Conference on the future of chilled food over the next ten years. Discussing the rise of new technologies including robotics, Ann highlighted the pressing need for food manufacturing to create the right conditions for successful innovation. After discussing a number of the wide-ranging challenges food manufacturing faces including environmental and significant cost pressures Ann stressed the importance of creating the right conditions for innovation in the UK. Collaboration between research institutions, technology providers and manufacturers will be very important in realising new developments. Likewise, further investment is needed in skills to realise the benefits of new technologies.

Ann has seen the tremendous growth of the chilled food market which has leapt from revenues of from £5 billion in 2000 to £11.4 billion in 2014 and is still growing. Discussing the benefits and rise of automation and robotics, Ann highlighted amongst others the following areas of interest:

Longer shelf life

Robots can work within controlled environment with limited exposure to bacteria and allergens often carried by people. There are  significant opportunities for improving the shelf life of products, reducing waste and improving the overall safety and hygiene of the factory in this way.

Improve decision making

Automation within a factory can also reduce human decision-making. The collection and intelligent use of big data will allow problems to be resolved before they occur, as their played out in digital factories. This will allow factories to plan further ahead, reduce stoppages and save time on resources.

Farm to fork

Improved data collection and analysis will enhance food safety from farm to fork. Big data applications will enable full visibility of the supply chain with in-line quality checks enhancing protection against errors.

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