The COVID-19 pandemic has paced the food sectors transformation by leaps and bounds. The closing of international borders, shortage of supplies, and lockdown of out-of-home channel are posing immediate challenges to the highly globalised food sector and thus to our food supply itself. Technology has changed how different industries in India function. Today, technology in the food industry is the most pursued new age development! Thanks to the boom of foodtech, at the click of a mouse or a tap on our screens, we can have delicious meals and scrumptious desserts right at our doorstep.
Health is top priority
Moreover, with the onset of the pandemic, people have become more health conscious than ever before. There is more demand for healthy and nutrient products: the healthcare concern is listed on the top of customers’ desires. According to statistics, post pandemic, consumers preferred healthier alternatives when consuming foods. (For e.g. Organic, plant based, vegan, etc.). Healthy and sustainable food has also made its way to many new age restaurants menus. Consumers are now paying attention to labels and harmful ingredients, especially with the advent of social media, all companies must be mindful of what they are claiming. Brands are also investing in technology to help them “go green.” For e.g. some companies are using robotics and digitalization to find alternatives to plastics and other harmful packaging to the environment. A recent ING report proves that consumers expect to see healthier food on the store shelves in the future. 43% of respondents are looking for healthy options, while 18% are interested in eco-friendly products.
Opening door to new tech
The Indian food industry has opened its doorway to new technologies and mobile application based services which have led to an enormous transformation in how the Indian food sector operates.Food providers (especially restaurants) are currently transforming into digitalization and automation in terms of increasing efficiency and reach, and replacing manual tasks. In recent years, agtech innovators have managed to create exciting new ways to harness the power of technology to enhance the world’s food supply. What do these agtech start-ups really do? These ag-tech innovators are trying to protect crops while maximizing outputs. This in turn enables a structural change in the agriculture system which could help India achieve important sustainability goals.
Due to the advent of tech and startups, consumers have also become more time conscious. This has made simple tech like tracking is imperative at every step, right from- when a customer orders to the time the restaurant starts its preparation to finally finding the right driver to deliver it. Also, they demand high quality and are now interested in customizing their food experiences in real life – all of which is again made possible via mobile technologies.
Investing in the right technology also enables smoother operations like online payments using advanced cloud based POS systems, online ordering, online reservations and automated inventory management systems for better visibility of business data and to make data enforced decisions.With customer ordering habits becoming more digital there’s an increased investment in FoodTech companies that aredriving more orders by providing tech based convenience to their customers.
The faster the time flies, the more choices your customers get: the market is overloaded with products and services. That is why many brands are working hard to transform products into something bigger – products become services, and services are turned into experiences. Food industry technology innovations allow business owners to understand customers better and provide them with a little bit more than they expect.All in all, the quarantine and the lockdown period have hit fast forward on wider adoption of digital in the food sector. The pandemic and ensuing lockdown has made people focus more on communities and local food ecosystems. We are seeing tech platforms helping local producers connect with more customers and providing innovative solutions to support their neighborhood restaurants (and all this at a time when they need their communities more than ever, and their communities need them.
About the Author: Rohit Gawli, CEO and Co-Founder, Lokal Kitchen, a food-tech company focused on marketing, selling, and delivering home-cooked meals to households and offices