Leaders in the baking industry are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve operational efficiency while lowering costs and, ideally, reducing carbon emissions and waste. In this way, bakers can produce high-quality products more efficiently, meeting the increasing demands of consumers worldwide. In order to achieve this, some in the industry are looking toward equipment powered by artificial intelligence.
Matt Lueger of NorthWind Technical Services reports that although artificial intelligence is not yet widely used, machine builders are already beginning to implement it for such things as virtual demos and training. He noted that Rockwell Automation had recently purchased engineering simulation software Emulate3D, a sign that operations in the baking industry are already trending toward artificial intelligence.
What Artificial Intelligence Can Do for the Baking Industry
Machine learning may seem like an odd addition to the bakery industry, particularly as consumer demand for more artisanal products is on the rise. However, bakeries have a lot to gain from emerging technologies, which can give them a competitive edge in the market. Particularly for larger operations, artificial intelligence can improve a number of points in production.
One of the biggest benefits of using machines with AI is also the most expected: an increase in production output. Streamlining baking processes with self-timers, production rotators, and self-programmable machines means that bakeries can more easily produce a higher volume of products. Products will also be more consistent in quality due to an increase in precision.
Newer equipment that utilizes artificial intelligence can be more costly, but the trade-off can be found in the ease of maintenance. Machines with remote monitoring systems can predict their maintenance needs, which decreases equipment downtime. Automating processes like mixing and kneading through machine learning can help reduce energy consumption, which lowers operating costs.
Particularly in these challenging times, one of the most exciting benefits of artificial intelligence is data collection. Tracking ingredient availability across the full supply chain can identify potential shortages ahead of time, giving you the opportunity to adjust your production schedule. Identifying surplus ingredients provides the opportunity to reduce food waste.
Beyond the Basics
While the benefits of artificial intelligence are easy to see in terms of the nuts and bolts of daily operations, food production is more than just crunching numbers and streamlining processes. Baking is a craft all its own, and no amount of machine learning will replace the very real human input. However, artificial intelligence can help innovate the creative side of baking, too.
Current market trends indicate that consumers are increasingly interested in healthier, more natural products. If your bakery is looking at alternative ingredients, data mining will help identify where to find the best supplies and track their availability through the supply chain. This helps you provide more health-conscious baked goods that are cost-effective.
Consumers are also very interested in artisanal offerings in baked goods. Developing proprietary recipes is made easier with artificial intelligence, ensuring that your specific blend of flavors and aromas is carefully duplicated on a large scale. This high level of quality can give your business an edge against the competition.
Lastly, the entire industry is still in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic. Predicting consumer demand has become even more difficult than before, and ingredient availability has become more unpredictable. Artificial intelligence is a necessary communication component that can help bakeries stay better connected between both suppliers and consumers, resulting in an increased volume of higher quality products that can safely reach the people who are ready to buy.
Opportunity for Innovation
At Harvest Food Solutions, our goal is to help you make your business better. We understand the importance of data, and we are passionate about putting technology to work for you. Our intensive focus on commercial bakeries puts us in a strong position to help your business maximize the potential of artificial intelligence.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Give us a call at (888) 243-3147 or request a demo.