Due to the importance of environmental and societal issues, it is now essential that industrialists must have a flexible and modern production chain which integrates digital solutions. A modern production chain also provides economic benefits such as managing energy consumption, hunting down food waste, consumables for packaging, improving working conditions, etc.
The Brittany region in France is the number one region in France in terms of jobs in the food industry (IAA). It has 1,455 agrifood companies, 400 of whom employ more than 20 people. The companies employ 58,286 people in total, with a global turnover of 19.3 billion euros ($22 billion). The region is therefore at the top of the list of employers, with 15% of French IAA employees despite the region also suffering from a lack of manpower in this sector.
Two thirds of the companies have modernized their tools, extended the buildings and renewed their equipment fleet over the last 5 years. In terms of cobotics, robotics and process automation, 40% have chosen to expand their means. Tool connectivity constitutes a solution which will enable better exploitation of production data, product tracing and the interconnection of human-machine resources.
Over the course of the next 2 years, the areas of innovation in food processing factories to keep an eye on are artificial intelligence, connectivity, virtual reality, cybersecurity, augmented reality, cobotics, robotics and automation.
40 innovation projects have been initiated in the Brittany region and 96 factories have been supported by the Brittany Regional Council in their digital transformation since 2015. A dynamic tool identifying and mapping the skills of the territory has also been implemented by the BDI in the drive to maintain standards and connect the major players in the sector.