Around 600 million which constitutes about 1 in 10 people in the world population, fall ill after consuming unsafe or contaminated food. About 420,000 die every year facing this issue. Unsafe food consumption impedes socio-economic development of countries leading to foodborne diseases and straining health care systems and costs. The impact of such contaminated food costs is estimated to reach $95 billion loss of productivity associated with premature deaths, illness, and disabilities in low- and middle- income countries each year. So, the WHO is advancing food safety initiatives, strategic plans ensure food safety which formed a base for food safety program of WHO Twelfth General Program of Work (2014-2019). These initiatives by WHO and other leading food organizations are enhancing the measures to accurately determine the food product characteristics to meet strict regulations. Shelf-life testing ensures the quality, consistency, pH levels, and moisture content along with external factors such as storage, packaging, and transport of the food supplies. Companies use real-time and accurate shelf-life testing to reduce product recalls while identifying the methods to increase shelf-life, thereby gaining profits in refining the production process. As a result, shelf-life testing has become a significant process to ensure the regulations and improve the profitability of the companies. Therefore, the shelf-life testing market is experiencing huge demand to heighten food safety.
The global Shelf-Life Testing Market size has reached a value of $3.41 billion in 2018. Furthermore, the demand for this industry is experiencing a notable uptick with a CAGR of 6.9% over the forecast period 2019-2025.
Customer Acceptance Instigating the Demand for the Shelf-Life Testing Market
Today, consumers are looking for foods with fewer additives or preservatives, and are particular about the ingredients in a food product they purchase. While making a purchasing decision, the consumers are keen to observe shelf-life information such as use-by-dates and best-before dates to ensure that the food is not depreciated. This is pressurizing the manufacturers to reformulate products, give cleaner labeling of the ingredients while providing ultimate importance to shelf-life testing. Thus, the companies active in the market rely on discrimination testing, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, predictive microbiology testing in a modified atmosphere packaging environment to prevent nonenzymatic browning and humectant. Inclusion of effective and novel shelf-life testing measures in various stages of the food supply chain is enabling the manufacturers to amplify customer acceptance and increase their brand visibility. Consequently, the growing consumer demands and their awareness of food safety is increasing the shelf-life testing market growth.
AI Reaping Profits and Revolutionizing the Shelf-Life Testing Market
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to radically transform any industry. On the other hand, AI in food production is bringing unfathomable changes to positively influence health, nutrition, and environmental consequences. Recent innovations in AI is delivering personalized flavors along with nutritional food to meet with the changing consumer dietary habits. Consequently, AI is playing a significant role in improving population health. So, companies are refining research activities to engineer AI capabilities to examine the shelf-life of food production. For instance, in 2017, Walmart, U.S. retail giant developed ‘Eden’ technology which uses AI to accurately predict the exact shelf-life for food items as well as to examine the defects in fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, AI intervention in Walmart’s supply chain is enabling the employees to carry out their tasks more effectively and swiftly. Also, the ‘Eden’ technology has saved around $86 million for Walmart in the first few months during its trial in 43 distribution centers. The company foresees that the technology will revolutionize shelf-life testing and food waste reduction and offer an estimated savings of about $2 billion in the next five years. These instances increase the ability to monitor and calculate the freshness factor of the food. As a result, AI association in shelf-life testing is proliferating the outcomes of the shelf-life testing market while reducing the environmental impact of food production and wastage.
Digital Innovations Driving the Smarter Food Safety in the North America Shelf-Life Testing Market
North America was a dominant market in the global shelf-life testing industry and occupied a share of 39% in 2018. The demand is attributed to growth prospects of the manufacturers to meet with the stringent regulations of the government organizations including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So, the food testing organizations are trying to cater to this increasing demand by advancing with the latest technologies to enhance shelf-life testing. Recently, in 2018, the U.S. FDA launched a new initiative called the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” which aimed to modernize the food safety procedures by inculcating new technologies, tools, and approaches including the requirements of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). As part of this initiative, the country promotes to include digital technologies such as blockchain, AI, sensor technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the food supply chain to protect consumers from foodborne illness and create traceable, digital, transparent, and safer food systems. Furthermore, this initiative by the U.S. FDA helps to reduce food-related outbreaks and product recalls while promoting the safety measures to increase the shelf-life of the food items. Regulations as such are spurring the innovations in food safety and aiding the demand for the U.S shelf-life testing market.
Along with that, countries such as Canada and the U.S. are global leaders in the food and beverage industry. Canada’s food and beverage market sales has attained a value of $87 billion in 2018. Furthermore, the government aimed to increase the agri-food exports by about 26% by 2025 with food processing sector leading the path. Shelf-life testing occupies a substantial role in the food processing making it more prevalent in the Canada food and beverage market. As a result, growing food industry demands are augmenting the Canada shelf-life testing market.
Packaged Food Emerging As the Fastest Growing Sector in the Shelf-Life Testing Market
Packaged food is the fastest-growing segment in the global shelf-life testing market experiencing a CAGR of 4.31% during the aforementioned period. Food packaging plays a significant role in the entire distribution chain for preserving the shelf-life of the food. Packaged foods are appropriately examined to determine the shelf-life of the product. Beverages, ready-to-eat foods, bakery, confectioneries, and shelf-stable products which come under packaged foods have a substantial demand for shelf-testing to ensure the quality of the product throughout the value chain. Subsequently, the rising e-commerce industry is supplementing the demand for packaged food products which require efficient shelf-life testing. As a result, the packaged foods segment demand is thriving in the global shelf-life testing market.
Key Players – Global Shelf-Life Testing Industry
Few of the companies holding a significant fraction in the global shelf-life testing market share include SGS S.A (Switzerland), Bureau Veritas (France), Agrifood Technology (Australia), Symbio Laboratories (Australia), SCS Global (US), TÜV SÜD (Germany), TÜV NORD GROUP (Germany), Mérieux (US), Intertek (UK), Eurofins (Luxembourg), and ALS Limited (Australia), RJ Hill Laboratories (New Zealand), AsureQuality (New Zealand), Microchem Lab Services (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), and Premier Analytical Services (UK). These companies are adapting to the latest digital technologies and innovations to meet with rising consumer demands. Few of the acquisitions by these leading players include:
· In 2018, Intertek Group plc, a global leader in providing assurance, quality, inspection, and product testing to a range of industries announced its acquisition of Alchemy Investment Holdings, Inc. The latter is a leader in offering SaaS-based people assurance solutions. The transaction highlights the global expansion of Intertek Group’s assurance offering with bespoke people assurance services especially in the most lucrative food industry where the demand is increasing with the growing government regulations and end-user anticipations.
· In 2018, SGS S.A, a multinational organization providing inspection, testing, and verification services, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland acquired Vanguard Sciences Inc. based out of the U.S. The latter is a leading service provider of food safety testing with an expertise in food safety consultation, R&D, and product testing. This acquisition strengthens the SGS position in the U.S food testing market and expands the testing facilities and services of SGSS in Brookings.
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