In the era of Industry 4.0 process automation and factory automation are gaining grounds across industries. Robots are highly used in the food and beverage industry for preparing and packaging food products and food processing machines are also automated, which is supporting the food automation market growth. As per the findings of the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, approximately 94% of the packaging processes in the food and beverage industry is being carried out through robots. Additionally, with an advent of sensors and smart technologies, industrial robots are more advanced now. Restaurants have adopted the automation trend and are now using robots in cooking and serving food. For instance, Spyce in Boston, is preparing meals in a bowl inside robotic kitchens. Similar innovations help in increasing consumer interest, which further contribute to the market growth. The food automation market will witness consumer participating and appreciation as a primary growth driver in the upcoming years.

Robots are extremely efficient and apart from routine maintenance, do not require any breaks, unlike humans. Moreover, they are excellent in processing information and performing repetitive tasks. They also produce products with negligible errors and can work around the clock, which is why they can produce industry-manufactured products at an accelerated pace while working 24 hours a day. These reasons have allowed the food automation market to flourish in the recent past. The food automation market will grow with a CAGR of 7% during the forecast period of 2019-2025, and the market earned a revenue of $9.4 billion in 2018. Europe has emerged as geographical leader of the market with a 32% share of the total revenue earned by the food automation market in 2018.

The Global Food Demand and Imports/Exports will be pivotal in increasing Market Growth

Due to increasing global population, the demand for food is rising at an unprecedented rate. The world population has quadrupled in the last hundred years with the count reaching approximately 7.5 billion in 2018.These statistics are alarming and are putting immense pressure on the food and beverage industry to increase production. By the end of 2050, the global food demand has been estimated to grow anywhere between 59%-98%, thus calling for automation solutions in manufacturing units to accelerate production and supply.[2] Furthermore, owing to urbanization, consumer preferences towards affordable healthy food are also transcending which will act as a positive factor for food automation market growth. The organic food trend is also impacting consumer preferences. People are now looking for food products with little or no chemical preservatives. Additionally, consumers are banking on efficient distribution networks that increase convenience in buying food products. These preferences have put enormous pressure on the food and beverage industry to adapt and evolve for meeting consumer demands. Automation in analyzing consumer data will help the food and beverage industry in achieving greater heights which will assist the food automation market in growing further.

A constant change in consumer preferences has also opened up economic routes for import and export. By application, the food automation market is segmented into dairy, bakery, beverage, confectionary, fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, and seafood. Food automation is being increasingly employed in nearly all of these divisions in the form of sorting, palletizing, processing, picking, placing, and packaging.This is increasing the demand of industrial robots in the food and beverage industry. Here’s how food automation inside food and beverage industries and manufacturing units has impacted food products import and export.

=>  Dairy and Meat Products - The world imported dairy, eggs, and meat products worth $91 billion in 2018. This is reflective of the extremely high demand for dairy products in most of the world’s countries. The dairy industry has therefore turned towards food automation for accelerating production. Milking of cows is now being carried out through robots under a system called Automatic Milking Systems (AMS), these robotic systems have reduced human participation and increased production by analyzing every cow’s milk production timeline. Additionally, robots are also used in production process of meat products that include slaughtering, cutting, curing and packaging. These robotic systems reduce labor cost and factory accidents. Hence, this will highly contribute to the growth of the food automation market in the upcoming years.

=> Fresh and Frozen Fruits and Vegetables - Fruits and vegetables are significant part of the human diet. Also, veganism has increased consumption and production rate of organic fruits and vegetables. Now, the U.S. residents spent $50m on organic produce in 2017. Furthermore, 90% of the fresh produce in the U.S. was organic in 2017. This is reflective of the increase in organically produced fruits and vegetables that are becoming an integral part of American diet . Furthermore, people are also using frozen fruits and vegetables for cooking meals. In 2018, the frozen food market earned a revenue of $228 billion, owing to a preference of eating foods without added preservatives. These factors have increased import and export of fruits and vegetables. In 2018, countries worldwide imported and exported fruits and vegetables worth $72 billion and $71 billion respectively. [PN11]  Robots are being employed in cultivating indoor farms which reduce carbon footprint and accelerate production. Picking of tomatoes, analyzing plant health, pruning of vines, and other menial tasks are all being performed by robots.This has made food automation an indispensable tool  for the growth of the food industry.

Food Automation Market: Key Players of the Market

The food automation market will witness an accelerated production of robots by key market players and innovation in sustainable automation solutions. The key market players carrying out these operations are Beumer, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Festo AG & Co. KG, Mitsubishi Electric, Emerson Electric, Swisslog Holding, Nord Drivesystems, Kollmorgen and Rexnord, Copa-Data, Yokogawa Electric, Ametek, Fortive, Yaskawa Electric, GEA Group, ABB Group, Horner APG, Frontmatec, Elwood Corporation, and Eaton.

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