What does the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry of the future look like? Efficient, sustainable, integrated, safe, consumer-centric and traceable.  This was the prevailing message at the recent Schneider Electric Food and Beverage Innovation Day, held at the Galleria in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The packed-to-the-rafters event was attended by major CPG (consumer packaged goods) and F&B companies, industry players, technology providers and industry bodies and regulators.  The event featured a number of prominent speakers and was hosted by radio personality and business news anchor, Nzinga Qunta.

Opening the event, Devan Pillay, cluster president of Schneider Electric, noted the remarkable evolution in the F&B Industry in recent years.  “There is a consciousness in the way we consume goods and with that comes the importance of traceability.  In our efforts to decarbonise we should also endeavour to bridge the gap between providing access to energy and sustainable practice.”

Mohamed El Khateb, regional segment leader: MEA and India at Schneider Electric, echoed Pillay’s sentiments. “At Schneider Electric we believe the factories of the future will be built on a comprehensive ecosystem that connects all aspects of the production process.

“By, for example, leveraging an infrastructure platform such as our EcoStruxure architecture, organisations can achieve seamless connectivity, improved data utilisation, and enhanced production capabilities.”

El Khateb also cited that the F&B industry of the future requires bold moves: “The industry has the opportunity to improve agility and profitability whilst meeting consumer’s expectations for safety, sustainability, and transparency.”

The Food and Beverage Innovation Day speakers and panel topics included:

  • Vusi Thembekwayo, venture capitalist, elite coach and mentor on observable trends and F&B industry challenges; the need to transform the value chain end-to-end, by putting sustainability and human capital at the centre of the conversation.
  • Panel Discussion – Gerhard Greeff (Chairman: MESA Board) with panellist from Nestlé, Aspen, Heineken Group and Fact SA:
    • The state of the manufacturing industry, counting the costs of unreliable power, water shortages regulations and fuel cost.
    • How digital transformation can be a catalyst towards efficiencies and cost reduction?
  • Peter Grobler, Managing Director: Astratek;
    • Hygienic engineering in design, machine specification, food safety and contamination avoidance.
    • This will improve brand image, and avoid personal liabilities, and claims.
  • Symphony of practical solutions for the F&B industry which included insights by Schneider Electric experts: Dr Suven Ramsunder, Digital Transformation Expert, Johan Potgieter, cluster industrial software lead and Thabang Byl, buildings segment lead.

Find out more on Schneider Electric’s F&B offerings here.