Consortium of UK Universities and leading tech, food and manufacturing firms announces funding from UKRI to develop IoT, Blockchain & AI-powered digital food supply chain platform.
From peanut butter and jelly to Scandinavian ‘open’, or even the classic tuna, everyone has a favourite sandwich. The UK sandwich industry alone is worth £5.6bn, employing over 300,000 people across the country and the market continues to grow at over 4% each year. Sandwiches are a big business. Which is why IMS Evolve is delighted to be part of the Digital Sandwich, a consortium of companies that has today announced £4 million in funding from the UKRI Better Made in Britain scheme to enhance the level of traceability of ingredients in the production of commercial, pre-packaged sandwiches.
Working alongside some of the UK’s leading manufacturers, food industry partners, technology providers, universities, trade and governmental organisations, IMS Evolve are supporting the development of the world’s first ‘Digital Sandwich’, an open platform designed to digitalise the food supply chain. The project extends the use of advanced IoT, Blockchain and AI technologies to the ready-made food supply to ensure complete trackability and traceability of every ingredient in the supply chain – from primary production to retail. The principles established in developing this new platform are intended to be both scalable to the entire food industry, and adaptable to include other industries with similar resourcing patterns.
Matt Raynor, Chair of Raynor Foods, one of the UK’s leading sandwich suppliers and Digital Sandwich project lead, said, “The project will open up this new technology to SMEs in the food sector, bringing the benefits of securely sharing information up and down the supply chain to the largest single sector of companies (Food SMEs). This technology will be a massive benefit for the companies concerned and for UK plc.”
Recent, well-publicised, health and safety issues have started to undermine confidence in the production of readymade foods, in addition to ongoing concerns about the conditions under which food is produced. The ability to use advanced technologies to irrefutably track ingredients in food, from primary production to retail, will be integral to maintaining public trust in the food system and reducing waste. There is even the potential to extend data sharing to collect consumer behavioural data through, for example, integration with health and diet apps and, in so doing, improve the diet and health of consumers.
Ed Porter, Director of IoT Solutions at IMS Evolve, explains, “IMS Evolve is delighted to provide the IoT component for a platform that has the potential to completely digitally transform almost any complex supply chain system. This technology is designed to be open to organisations of all sizes across the supply chain, right down to the smallest producer, meaning that anyone can benefit from the increased productivity, food quality and safety and reduction in waste that this project promises to deliver.”
Full details of the project aims and the partners involved can be found at: www.digitalsandwich.co.uk