Artificial Intelligence, F&B Quality, Safety and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic initiated a drastic change in consumer confidence and purchasing habits while redefining the approach to how select businesses approach their supply and demand for goods & services. The food and beverage, manufacturing and industrial processing industries continue to experience, respond to and rebound from these unexpected changes all while navigating a yet to be defined new normal. Now, more than ever, consumers are heavily invested in food safety as well as supply chain traceability.

The pandemic has exposed weaknesses across the value chain and many players in F&B that were not looking to invest in technology are now facing the reality that digitizing their operations is the only way to remain competitive in a post-COVID-19 landscape.

How COVID-19 affected buiness and operations... 
45% Demand increase 
40% Supply chain shortage 
37% Demand decrease 
33% Negative impact, but managing 
16% Has had little impact 
13% Having issues meeting higher demand 
10% Cashflow is a problem 
7% Business as usual 
•5th state of 2020

In a survey of food and beverage industry leaders conducted by PLEX systems, we can see that COVID-19 had a significant, and largely negative, impact on demand and the supply chain. These volatile changes in supply and demand were likely the worst at beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, where uncertainty regarding lockdowns and safety were at their peak. Without the proper technology deployed and the reliance on traditional operating methods having to be redefined, these volatile swings are extremely difficult to rebound from and in effect cause ripples in the supply chain for extended periods of time.

Investing in technology, such as Artificial Intelligence, and more specifically Maestro, to address and stabilize this volatility is pivotal in the future for F&B manufacturers. The PLEX survey also showed that 10% of respondents had a cash flow problem as a result of COVID-19, which is a result of being unable to respond quickly to the unpredictable swings in demand and supply chain shortages. With Artificial Intelligence, corporations are able to be agile and nimble, responding quickly to changes in variable inputs and outputs to optimize operations and remain competitive. It’s clear that the F&B industry understands the necessity of investing in technology for the future.

Most food and beverage manufacturers say they 
still plan to invest in enabling technologies. 
Still planning to 
invest. 
Did not plan to invest, 
but are now. 
No longer planning 
to invest. 
•qt. An Stat. of of 7020

The PLEX systems survey also shows that 75% of respondents are going to invest in digital technologies as a response to changes driven by COVID-19. The top areas of investment for F&B manufacturers have shifted focused towards e-commerce as the drive for online purchasing has increased as well as supply chain upgrades, due to an increased importance on food safety. Supply chain upgrades, in particular, have been the key to their survival during this time when keeping up with extremely high food safety standards as well as trying to remain profitable has been critical.

Food safety has been a hot button issue, with many corporations like Perdue and other meat processors falling short to meet proper safety for employees, negatively impacting their production. Artificial Intelligence can address many of the safety issues for employees working within the factories as well as the quality of the actual products being produced. An example of this occurred within a poultry processing plant in Georgia, when a liquid nitrogen tank leaked and resulted in the death of six people in the plant. Investigators are having difficulties identifying which part of the operational process lead to the leak, something an end-to-end Artificial Intelligence Platform, such as Maestro, would address by taking into account the entire estate and being able to predict and prevent this events such as this from occurring.

Many F&B manufacturers and processors have been overwhelmed in their response to correct their course as a result of COVID-19. There has never been a more critical time for Artificial Intelligence to address this overwhelming condition as that is the true nature of what AI is capable of. The objective of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is to continuously ensure optimized outcomes with certainty, when so many dynamic variables impact operations that point-in-time analysis is irrelevant and the required speed, scale and depth of analysis is beyond human and standard algorithmic capabilities. This is the world we are living in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maestro AI is proven to deliver transformational benefit for the F&B manufacturing industry allowing clients to realize significant savings, while achieving safety and quality standards with unmatched speed to value. To learn more about Maestro AI and Elutions, contact us.

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February Series: The AI Enabled Food & Bev Revolution

The global food and beverage (F&B) manufacturing industry is a behemoth, valued at 6111.1 billion dollars as of 2020 and expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% for 2021 to reach an estimated value of $7527.5 billion in 2023. Even though COVID-19 created some pretty significant supply chain issues for the F&B market it still grew in an incredibly trying year. The industry is essential to our way of life and digital technologies are essential to the survival and growth of the industry.

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to unlock complete value chain transformation for F&B manufacturers. Mckinsey reports that, “50% of [F&B manufacturing] companies that embrace AI over the next 5-7 years have the potential to double their cash flow.”

The team at Elutions says, why wait that long?


F&B Manufacturers have never been in a better position then they are now to begin rapidly digitizing their operations with AI to reduce time to market, implement automation in feedstock to increase speed and reduce yield, to reduce resource consumption and achieve Net-Zero goals and so much more. In February 2021 Solve the Unsolvable will be exploring the applications of Artificial Intelligence in the Food and Beverage Manufacturing sector.

How can AI deliver on its promises within F&B? How can AI help corporations achieve their Net-Zero goals with increased speed? How can AI combat COVID-19 in the F&B Manufacturing sector and maintain food safety goals?


Stay tuned to this month’s series to have all of these questions and more answered.

Maestro AI is proven to deliver transformational benefit for the F&B manufacturing industry across the entire value chain at unprecedented speed to value. To learn more about Maestro AI and Elutions, contact us.

Click subscribe below to be kept up to date and notified of our upcoming articles, including the next piece in the Februrary Series- Food, Beverage and Artificial Intelligence.


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Enterprise Artificial Intelligence – Academic Theory or Ready for Primetime?

Solvetheunsolvable has already explored various aspects of consumer AI and products purporting to leverage AI technologies, but is AI for Enterprise ready for primetime?

Investors aren’t the only ones betting big on Artificial Intelligence, it turns out Higher Education is also investing heavily into the space. With heavy investment in research and development, enterprise level AI seems to be having a rocky start.  Earlier this month Northeastern University allocated $50 million to an Institute for Experiential Artificial Intelligence. This institute will be dedicated to uniting leading experts to solve the world’s unsolvable problems.

“This new institute, the first of its kind, will focus on enabling artificial intelligence and humans to collaborate interactively around solving problems in health, security, and sustainability. We believe that the true promise of AI lies not in its ability to replace humans, but to optimize what humans do best.”


Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun

This isn’t Northeastern’s first step into the world of Artificial Intelligence and Automation. They already have an Institute for Experiential Robotics that is bringing together engineers, sociologists and other experts, including economists, to design and build robots with abilities to learn and execute human behaviors.  Northeastern isn’t just building Institutes for experts to conduct research, they are making it a priority to prepare their students for success in the age of artificial intelligence. They have an entire curriculum dedicated to what they call, humanics which is a key part of their strategic plan, Northeastern 2025.

Northeastern 2025 Promo Video

“We are building on substantial strengths across all colleges in the university,” said Carla Brodley, dean of the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. “Experiential AI is highly relevant to our mission.”

Though Northeastern is an example of one university betting heavily on AI, they are not alone in their quest to equip students with proper education for the AI-enabled future. In fact, government agencies are getting involved in funding AI in Education. The UK has pledged to invest £400 million in math, digital and technical education through the government’s AI sector deal to protect Britain’s technology sector amid Brexit and an additional £13 million for postgraduate education on AI. In the US, just a few days ago, the National Science Foundation announced a joint federal program to fund research focused on artificial intelligence at colleges, universities and nonprofit or nonacademic organizations focused on educational or research activities. 

The National Science Foundation is awarding $120 million to fund planning grants and support up to six institutes, but there’s a catch. Each institute must have a principal focus on at least one of six themes:

  • Trustworthy AI
  • Foundations of Machine Learning
  • AI-Driven Innovation in Agriculture and the Food System
  • AI-Augmented Learning
  • AI for Accelerating Molecular Synthesis and Manufacturing
  • AI for Discovery in Physics

As universities and governments bet big on the future of AI and education, it underscores the importance of AI on a global scale in the future, but does it call into question the current existence of AI solutions ready to take business to the next level? Utilizing AI and automation will be imperative for corporations to remain competitive and for the advancement of business, but when will the floodgates be swept open, and by who, remains a mystery.

Will you leap into the future and embrace AI now? How do you see the futuristic vision of enterprise AI transform your business? Challenge Solvetheunsolvable with your business conundrum or leave your thoughts in the comments below and let’s explore what AI can do for you. 


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