Digital could help to unlock £56bn in value

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Companies are yet to realise the full benefits of digital technologies
Companies are yet to realise the full benefits of digital technologies

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Food and drink companies could unlock £56bn in value for the sector over the next decade by investing in digital technology, new research from Accenture, the professional services company, has claimed.

The study found that by investing in digital technologies, the food and drink industry could create value worth up to 12% of the industry’s gross value added, which measures the contribution to an economy of an individual industry.

It estimated that by investing in digital technology, the sector could generate over £3bn in new revenue over 10 years and reduce costs by almost £53bn, as well as passing on £2bn in savings to consumers.

The research suggested that customised manufacturing could enable premium pricing, while data analytics might help to source and develop new product ideas. It added that real-time data and robotics could improve the supply chain, increase efficiency and reduce incidents of contamination during food manufacture and distribution.

Real-time data

Combined, digital technologies would increase speed to market and improve product satisfaction by an estimated 25%, it also estimated.

“Most food and drink companies we work with recognise that digital technologies can drive transformation and growth, but many aren’t yet realising this potential,”​ said Yen-Sze Soon, Accenture md. “This research quantifies the potential prize for industry, individuals and society if they get this right.

“The solution is what we call Industry X.0. It’s an action plan for embracing technological change and profiting from it. More than just transforming into digital businesses, food and drink companies must look at how they reinvent operating models, production and value chains.”

Industry X.0

Accenture defines Industry X.0 as the digital reinvention of the industry, when businesses use advanced digital technologies to transform their core operations.

Accenture’s analysis used the methodology developed in partnership with the World Economic Forum to understand the value of digital transformation.

Meanwhile, software supplier Muddy Boots has reported that more than 4.1M items of fresh produce were quality checked by its Greenlight Quality Control software during 2017, an increase of 19% on the previous year.

The company attributed this to the growing demand from food businesses for quick and easy access to data that told them how their products were performing. This data was then being used to make informed business decisions.

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