Meat processing is an industry that has long considered automation inferior to human activity. Automation was seen as inexact and left too much waste, among other issues.
However, there has been more of a push to improve machinery through the use of technologies – such as artificial intelligence, sensors, and cameras – that are both increasingly better performing and less expensive. The need to implement automation has been spurred by the challenges of worker protection (particularly the need to space workers out amid high infection rates) and the need to continue operating when outbreaks occur.
This is something to watch for in other industries as well. Investments in automation are often seen as a hedge to hiring challenges (when not enough of the right kind of workers available), but it can also be a way to make the cost of production in a country or region with high labor rates more competitive with other areas. As more manufacturers are considering diversifying their supply chains after learning lessons from disruptions during the pandemic, automation may be an increasingly popular strategy.
For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including Global Food Processing Machinery, Global Packaging Machinery, Meat, Poultry & Seafood Packaging and Global Sensors & Connectors (coming soon) as well as related food industry research from our sister publisher Packaged Facts such as Global Meat & Poultry Trends, and Meat, Poultry, & Seafood Alternatives: Plant-Based & Cultured Cell-Based Types. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.