Emerging technologies brought plenty of changes to the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector reflecting the shift in consumers’ tastes and behaviors.

The FMCG industry is projected to make $721.8 billion in sales in 2020. To take a piece of this cake FMCG companies start to implement cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital assistants, and robotics, aiming to enhance operations and improve customer experience and satisfaction.

Our research team has analyzed more than 3.500 startups in the FMCG sector to identify emerging technologies and innovation areas. In the following, we will share our insights into the most promising fields for this industry. Discover the future of FMCG!

 


FMCG companies start to implement technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.

Blockchain

The distributed ledger technology has started to revolutionize the entire consumer goods supply chain facilitating transactions in a secure and transparent environment.

Consumers are now able to quickly trace the source of their purchases, shippers can easily check if a truck is fully loaded before scheduling a delivery, drug stores can verify if their creams or shampoos are actually organic.

Blockchain also comes into play with loyalty rewards programs. A blockchain-powered platform can connect loyalty programs through blockchain nodes, which enables it to collect, exchange and redeem loyalty points amongst multiple organizations. This significantly increases interactions without the need for multiple separate programs or a middleman.

TE-FOOD is a fresh food traceability ecosystem on the blockchain, which integrates supply chain companies, consumers, and governments granting access to information such as animal profiles and feeding, vaccination and veterinary checks, transportation data etc.

Consumers can scan the QR code on the products to gain access to this information and trace their food from field to fork.

Blockchain

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Internet of Things (IoT)

As IoT technologies continue to evolve, FMCG companies introduce new in-store devices to enhance customer experience. Some of these devices include digital signage screens displaying targeted messages, interactive terminals, and smart robots as sales assistants, virtual or augmented reality tools.

Apart from the in-store experience, IoT also enhances the efficiency of back-end operations. Cameras and sensors track inventory and, in the case of low inventory levels in a warehouse, smart sensors inform the operator which products need to be ordered.

WiseShelf offers a system that prevents out-of-stock situations by alerting operators when stock levels get low or critical.

To achieve this, an IoT appliance equipped with dozens of light sensors is installed on top of a shelf. The sensors detect the light level above them and alert store employees. The collected data is stored in a cloud that utilizes machine learning techniques to generate valuable insights.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Advanced Manufacturing

With disruptive manufacturing technologies, FMCG companies optimize the production process and can offer their consumers customized products.

Solutions such as 3D printers can easily print food items or other goods. With access to a 3D printing platform, producers can work directly with designers to customize products.

Another example are robotics used during the manufacturing process. The solutions here include robotic butchery, pick and place arms and palletizers, robotic food decorating, automated cutting and slicing, liquid filling and product aligning systems among many others.

Smart Robotics produces Smart Palletizer, an end-of-line solution with 3D printed grippers for palletizing boxes of up to 8 kg.

The company also offers specific software so their robots can an easily adapt to a dynamic environment or specific product features, requiring only minimal instructions from an employee.

 

Advanced Manufacturing

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Digital Assistants

Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered voice-based systems that support consumers to find goods on eCommerce platforms are gaining popularity.

Voice-activated assistants are now one of the fastest growing consumer electronic devices. Trend watchers estimate that the 500 million people using voice-activated assistants today will be 1.8 billion by 2021 and that 30% of browsing will be screenless by 2020.

For FMCG companies, this means a shift from traditional text searches (visual) to audio interfaces.

Voysis enables natural language interactions between brands and their customers. The voice-based Artificial Intelligence platform recognizes natural language shows consumers what they are looking for.

Users can quickly add products to their cart or shopping list, or further refine their searches. These voice searches instantly increase the speed of purchases.

Digital Assistants

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

On-Demand Delivery

Today’s busy lifestyles demand much greater convenience and efficiency especially when it comes to getting food, cosmetics, and other consumer packaged goods.

Some advancements in this area include incorporating clients and couriers in one app, on-bike delivery, shops that autonomously arrive to a specific destination on request. By implementing these technologies, FMCG companies meet and exceed the on-demand expectations of their customers.

Startup Robomart brings the grocery store to its customers. To purchase groceries, users open the app, request the supermarket on wheels to come to them to shop checkout-free when it arrives.

Robomart tracks what customers buy using patent pending “grab and go” checkout-free technology and charge them accordingly.

On-Demand Delivery

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Reusable, Recyclable, Compostable Packaging

Packaged goods manufacturers move away from traditional plastic packaging, toward reusable and sustainable packaging like sugarcane ‘plastic’ tubes, as well as bowls made from plant fibers, among others.

This new generation of packaging also entails using biodegradable/compostable materials such as bamboo, mushrooms, agar, food waste, seaweed algae, wood, and crustacean shells instead of traditional plastics.

Sulapac develops a biodegradable and microplastic-free material that shares similar properties with plastics.

The material biodegrades completely and leaves no microplastics behind. Sulapac’s solutions are also water, oil, and oxygen resistant. The material can easily be used with existing production machinery.

Reusable, Recyclable, Compostable Packaging

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

Nutrition Technologies

Searching for healthier and more wholesome food, people expect to find the same or even better quality. By using more organic and natural ingredients, FMCG companies make their products gluten-free, sugar-free, or vegan-friendly, in order to withstand the competition on the market.

Changing the structure of products on a molecular level, for example, through the addition of aroma and flavor of real meat leads to an increasing number of food innovations: healthy junk food, non-alcoholic beverages, energized milk products etc.

Raw Halo produces a range of chocolate bars using only all-natural, organic ingredients. The bars come in many flavors and are raw, gluten-free, and sugar-free.

Coconut sugar and organic lucuma powder as their two preferred natural sweeteners. Their vegan-friendly ‘Mylk’ chocolate recipe, for example, replaces milk with organic cashews and lucuma powder.

Nutrition Technologies

Will this innovation area disrupt the industry?

These are just several important innovation areas disrupting the FMCG industry. Other notable innovations in the sector include plant-based products and ingredients, data analytics and AI-guided shopping, smart delivery methods, personalized goods and many more.

FMCG companies with the right insights into emerging technologies and the future of the industry gain a powerful competitive advantage on their way to becoming an industry leader.


AI-guided shopping, smart delivery & personalized goods are the future of FMCG.
Get in touch for more insights into the future of FMCG!
Get in touch for more insights into the future of FMCG!




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