How the Food and Beverage industry is making sustainability pay

How the Food and Beverage industry is making sustainability pay

With the world’s population set to top 9 billion people by 2050, sustainability has never been more important.

Agriculture alone is responsible for up to 70% of freshwater withdrawals and nearly 70% of the planet’s biodiversity loss. Consumers demand swift and visible accountability from producers and increasingly sophisticated digital technology means they can keep a watchful eye on food and beverage manufacturing processes.

The good news is, in addition to conserving the planet’s natural resources and building better, more transparent consumer relationships, making sustainability a priority has significant cost benefits.

Leading businesses across Food and Beverage have already begun to embrace sustainable practices, with 86% of 600 manufacturers reporting ambitious goals for change*.

According to research conducted for ABB’s latest whitepaper A taste of the future, an ambitious study of what will drive Food and Beverage in 2020 and beyond, digitalization and advanced analytics are now widely recognized as vital to the future success of Food and Beverage. We analyzed over 350 trends and spoke to industry leaders and experts, all of whom stressed the need for Food and Beverage to develop flexible, autonomous digital systems if they wished to remain competitive in an increasingly complex marketplace.


Digitalization directly supports sustainable practices by reducing waste, conserving resources and enhancing productivity. Crucially, it also allows businesses a chance to showcase their brand values in a more transparent way, helping enhance consumer trust at a time when a global pandemic has shaken public confidence to its core.

ABB has always been dedicated to helping businesses enhance their sustainability measures and around 60% of our revenues are from technology that fights climate change.


Recently, we worked with leading agribusiness Olam to optimize the performance of its motors, across multiple production lines. Up to 70% of all industrial energy is used by motors driving operations but when Olam installed ABB Ability™ Smart Sensors across its line, the predictive maintenance capabilities allowed engineers to anticipate and prevent unscheduled downtime. This simple installation had far-reaching effects, extending overall equipment lifetime and supporting a more energy-efficient production process.

Sustainable farming practices are equally key to the future success of Food and Beverage but when the process is dangerous, farmers can find it challenging to implement long-term measures. When ABB partnered with Norway Royal Salmon, breakthrough stereoscopic technology was used to keep the Arctic fish free of parasites by allowing human workers to efficiently monitor their health via a digital dashboard located safely onshore. Not only did this have obvious safety benefits but the optimized process allowed for a smarter use of resources, using biomass measurements to supply the fish with precisely the right amount of food.

Striking the balance between innovation and expertise has the potential to transform lives across continents and for generations to come. ABB’s expertise in power, automation and robotics means we are focused on driving businesses towards their sustainability goals across the supply chain, from manufacturing and packaging, all the way to transportation.

To explore how digitalization can accelerate your business’s sustainability goals, Talk to Us.

*Fixing Food 2018: best practices towards the sustainable development goal (Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition), 2018


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