Digitizing the downstream value chain for growth in the food processing sector

Share this:

Increasing disposable incomes in rapidly growing economies, a shift in lifestyles, and various other factors contribute to the demand for quality processed food. Moreover, as we aim to bridge the widening gap between food production and food consumption needs, implementing crop yield management in the food processing supply chain can help resolve the challenge. As per Market Future Research, the global food processing market is expected to grow at 7.60% CAGR between 2022-30, reaching $134.7 billion.

To capitalize on such an opportunity, the food processing companies must rapidly undertake digitization of the agriculture supply chain, including the downstream supply chain. Such digital transformation offers multiple advantages that enable scale, profitability, and high food integrity. Digitalization solutions for agriculture can help:

  • End-to-end traceability and accountability for food safety and integrity
  • Effective remote crop monitoring and intervention by relevant stakeholders
  • Cost efficacy and output optimization

Market surveys show that migrating to cloud-based platforms is leading the trend in digitization in the food processing industry. In the near future, companies are increasingly set to harness big data for cold chain and similar processes, digitize entire operations and switch to automation; technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics will dominate the digital transformation of the food processing industry.

Digitization: Top trends, challenges, and opportunities

According to an internal survey of the food processing industry conducted by Cropin, consumer trends are changing, and new technologies are emerging forcing the industry to innovate to remain relevant.

The next wave of digital growth will come from the downstream supply chain

Most food processors have digitized their upstream business. As they look to gain an edge in a highly competitive business environment, digitizing the downstream supply chain up to the farm level will serve as a business advantage. As per insights gleaned from recent internal studies, over the next two years, the same will lead to:

  • 19% reduction in cost of operations
  • 16% increase in revenue generation

Digitization will be instrumental in addressing the brand loyalty challenge

Driving high customer engagement to improve the customer lifecycle value and augment growth is critical for food processing companies that look to scale by unlocking new geographies/markets and generate more significant revenue growth. Digitization is expected to help companies address top emerging challenges to meet customer expectations:

  • 52% of respondents stated that customer loyalty was their biggest challenge
  • 44% of those surveyed said last-mile traceability in agriculture was among the top concerns
  • 42% agreed that keeping pace with fast-changing consumer preferences was a challenge

Data is a critical currency in the digital-first environment

Data is the key to rectifying shortcomings, projecting future paths, and streamlining processes. It drives the need for an integrated, cloud-based approach to manage the data supply chain.

  • 55% of all data collected by companies is already digitized
  • 91% of all data collection will be automated by 2024

While augmenting digitization in data collection is on track, the stumbling block is the need for centralized platforms to manage such enormous data.

Assembling the new machine for digital growth

There is also a latent growth opportunity once the food processing industry invests in the next stage of digital transformation. This is because 40% of food processing companies are yet to synchronize their operations with emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), automation and robotics. Once they leverage these technologies, food processors can improve efficiency across manufacturing and the supply chain, while simultaneously enhancing consumer engagement and loyalty.

Shortage of talent and lack of localized solutions hinder rapid digital adoption

Another trend that is set to impact the industry's shift to digitization is the need for adequate, relevant resources.

  • 54% of respondents stated lack of skilled talent and localized solutions as impediments to digitalization
  • 51% of those surveyed pointed to a lack of workflow customization as one of the top challenges
  • 41% of respondents cited unstructured data sets as an obstacle

The role of Cropin solutions in addressing top industry challenges

Designed to serve as a one-of-its-kind comprehensive agri-intelligence offering, Cropin Cloud facilitates an integrated, digitally driven value chain for the food processing industry. Together with its app-based solutions - Cropin Data Hub and Cropin Intelligence - it works to unlock rapid, far-reaching digital transformation. Cropin Cloud platform offers an intuitive and democratic interface that is simple, highly secure, and scalable. That makes it easy for companies across the food processing industry to adapt and implement.

Take a look at how a leading coffee company digitized its coffee value chain with Cropin.

Here are the keyways in which it impacts the digitization trends related to the industry

Effective stakeholder engagement, right down to farmers

Cropin Cloud’s app-based solutions provide farmer engagement and enablement and help digitize field and farm management processes. It, thus, fits in with all the requirements for digitizing the downstream value chain of operations. They are scalable and can be highly customized. Cropin Grow focuses on the farm and farmer, with features for geo-tagging fields, setting alerts on pests and diseases, and managing these alerts remotely. Cropin Connect brings together downstream stakeholders on a single platform for effective and easy interventions. Accurate yield predictions can be used for efficient crop production management, i.e., plan harvest and scheduling and to optimize crop production planning.

Simplified farm to fork traceability that enhances customer satisfaction

Cropin Trace provides QR-coded farm to fork traceability solutions with tamper-proof labels that check counterfeiting, a major challenge for the industry. It also facilitates companies to provide customers with all the information they need about ethical and responsible sourcing apart from food safety and integrity. The real-time insights from the downstream value-chain (quantity and nature of agri-input resources used) can be leveraged by the upstream value-chain to enhance customer trust and build loyalty. Traceability in agriculture can be instrumental in turning around the brand loyalty challenge when delivered consistently.

Intelligent and agile agriculture supply chain for high profitability

Cropin's integrated approach helps food processing companies predict and respond to market demand trends effectively. Accordingly, they can align the supply of raw materials using regional intelligence, drive cost efficiencies, and innovate to stay ahead of the curve in a fast-changing business environment.

Simplified data pipelines for swift and on-point decision making

Cropin Data Hub and Cropin Intelligence, when used together, work to offer clean, contextualized data pipelines. It democratizes data and makes it accessible for everyone on the team, irrespective of their digital prowess, to innovate and improve in their area of operations to drive greater optimization and revenue. The food traceability data provided by Cropin from the downstream value chain can be used by upstream value chain teams with real-time information to build customer trust.

Balancing customization with standardization for global adoptability

Despite leveraging cutting-edge technology, Cropin's platforms allow a high level of customization and configurability to suit the unique localized agribusiness and operational needs at district or even village level. Moreover, it enables this while maintaining industry standardizations. It ensures easy adoptability on a global scale for companies with a presence across geographies and those looking to enter new markets. Considering the lack of talent, Cropin can support food processing companies with access to a broader pool of technology experts and ensure that the industry has the skilled workforce it requires to succeed.

Riding industry trends effectively to capitalize on the growth opportunity

To sum it up, the food processing industry is at the cusp of a digital revolution when it comes to enhancing its value chain. By adopting a cloud-based solution such as Cropin, organizations across segments can leverage digitization for a high return on investment (RoI). By investing in an end-to-end integrated solution, companies can get past top challenges to focus on customer-centricity, innovation, and greater revenue generation.

Trillions of data sets powering predictive intelligence at a farm pixel level REQUEST A DEMO
World’s first ag-tech  resource library GET ACCESS
Introducing world's first  intelligent agriculture cloud KNOW MORE

Know more about Cropin Cloud - the world's first intelligent agriculture cloud platform

Cropin Apps

Applications for

Cropin Apps is an integrated portfolio of highly customizable apps and solutions that capture and digitise agri-data from the farm to the warehouse to the fork. These applications are designed to scale digital transformation across agriculture and allied industries including forestry, commodity, banking and insurance.


ML-ready data pipelines for enhanced analytics

Cropin Data Hub is designed to deliver the power of unified data by enabling interfacing with all agri-data sources from on-the-field farm management apps, IoT devices, mechanization data from farming resources, drones in agriculture, remote sensing satellite information, weather data, and many more.                                                      


Access to field-tested machine learning models

Cropin Intelligence enables access to over 22 of Cropin’s contextual deep-learning AI models to help agri-businesses with insights and predictive intelligence. Built using the world's largest crop knowledge graph, these models have been field-tested and deployed worldwide while being fine-tuned to work with a range of specific crop varieties, conditions, and locations.

Abishek Keerthi Narayan

About the Author

A results-driven and strategic leader with over 18 years of experience in customer success, SaaS, management consulting and technology enablement. Proven track record of implementing customer-centric strategies to realize the key business outcomes of clients. Strong leader with a track record of building and scaling high-performing teams. Passionate about solving customer problems, creating value, and driving success.