Food brands can face significant challenges in their supply chains as continual advances in technology mean the sector must constantly change in order to keep up. Now, supply chain logistics are further complicated by the fact that many companies are attempting to bring brands to market with the lowest possible carbon footprint, and they often find themselves looking to their suppliers to offer answers. One such solution can be the use of robotics and automated technologies that support supply chain efficiencies, according to a new report by the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI).
The Food Packaging Trends and Advances Report shows that the ROI for robotics may be advancing at a pace that will allow their use to continue to replace manual processes in the supply chain, writes Food Engineering. Robotics can easily support the use of flexible packaging, which can use plastic, film, paper and aluminum foil in a way which uses a minimum of material. “Flexible packaging starts with less waste in the first place, greatly reducing landfill discards. Innovation and technology have enabled flexible packaging manufacturers to use fewer natural resources in the creation of their packaging, and improvements in production processes have reduced water and energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and volatile organic compounds. Even more, lighter-weight flexible packaging results in less transportation-related energy and fossil fuel consumption, and environmental pollution,” according to the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA). The FPA says flexible packaging is one of the fastest growing packaging segments in the US.
As food manufacturers face consumer demand to be more sustainable, suppliers that use robotics for creation of packaging materials may help, according to the report.