Automatic control or automation is the use of control systems for operating various machineries and equipment without the need for human labor. The adoption of automation in the food industry is imperative due to the increasing demand for quality, productivity, and profitability. Food processing is a labor intensive procedure that is highly monotonous and repetitive in nature, thus causing humans to focus less on quality check, resulting in increased frequency of various kinds of errors. Automation of these tasks improves product quality, process efficiency, and saves labor charges as well. It helps in maintaining standardization and quality of food, thereby helping in protect the brand value of food products. Automation can be adopted by small or large scale players, and additional machinery and components can be added or customized with minimum wastage of resources, depending on the growth and expansion of the business. 

Rapid technological advancements, growing demand for food safety, and stringent regulations imposed by regulating bodies on food and beverage products are major key factors fuelling growth of the food automation market. 

However, high initial investment associated with installation of such equipment is a major factor restraining growth of the market, as small and medium scale players often experience shortage of sufficient capital to install automated equipment in their factories.

Food Automation Market Taxonomy

On the basis of product type, the food automation market is segmented into:

  • Discrete Controller and Visualization
  • Generators and motors
  • Linear and Rotary products
  • Motor controls
  • Others 

On the basis of function, the food automation market is segmented into:

  • Packaging and repackaging
  • Picking and Placing
  • Palletizing
  • Processing
  • Sorting and Grading
  • Others 

On the basis of application, the food automation market is segmented into:

  • Bakery
  • Beverages
  • Confectionary
  • Dairy
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Poultry
  • Others 

On the basis of regions, the global food automation market is classified into:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Africa

Among product type, the generators and motors accounted for the largest segment in 2016 and is expected to lead the market throughout the forecast period, owing to its multifunctional nature. A large variety of motors such as stepper motor, gear motor, servo motor, direct drive motors, and AC motors are used in the food industry for motor controlled applications. Generators ensure efficient and smooth functioning of systems. 

Among applications, the beverages segment holds a dominant position in the market, owing to rapid developments and frequent product launches in the beverage industry. 

Food Automation Market Outlook 

  • Europe is the most lucrative market for food automation, owing to high demand for processed food and beverage products, especially in France, Germany, and Italy. Furthermore, stringent regulations imposed by regulating bodies pertaining to the quality of processed food items, fuels the demand for food automation in the region.
  • North America witnesses significant demand for food automation, owing to growing demand for product integrity and food safety by consumers. Food automation machinery used in the U.S. is required to meet the stringent criteria enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market for food automation industry due to the rapidly growing food and beverage industry in the region. Improvement in standards of living among the populace due to increasing disposable income, diversification of diet, and liberalization of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the food sector are some of the major factors fuelling growth of the food automation market in Asia Pacific. Furthermore, increasing number of manufacturers operating in the food and beverage industry also drives significant demand for food automation in Asia Pacific. According to the Union Budget 2017-2018, the Government of India has invested US$ 1.2 billion on dairy processing. Moreover, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) estimated that the food processing sector in India is expected to attract US$ 33 billion over the following decade. Such investments are expected to increase growth of food automation market in India over the forecast period. Countries in the Middle East largely rely on exports for processed food. However, the government is investing on food processing technologies to improve food security and enhance productivity, which in turn, is expected to augment growth of the market for food automation in the region.
  • Increasing population along with urbanization and increasing per capita spending of consumers in Africa and Latin America have contributed to rapid growth of the food automation market in these regions. 

The food automation market is marked by intense competition from major manufacturers operating in this market. Mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships, and technological innovations are some of the key strategies adopted by these companies in order to ensure long-term sustenance in this market. Notable acquisitions in the food automation industry include acquisition of major shares of Cabinplant AG by CTB in September 2016 and acquisition of Jorgensen Engineering by XANO in November 2016. 

Global Food Automation Market: Key Players

Key market players in the global food automation market include ABB Ltd, Emerson Electric Company, Fortive Corporation, GEA Group, Rockwell Automation, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Nord Drivesystems, Rexnord Corporation, Schneider Electric SE, Siemens AG, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, and Yokogawa Electric Corporation.

Global Food Automation Market: Key Developments

  • In October 2019, Picnic, an innovator of food production technology and Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions launched first automated pizza assembly platform using robotics-as-a-service. The platform Enables high-volume, consistent, customizable pizzas and access to operational back-end data for food service providers
  • In August 2019, GEA announced a launch of the redesigned high-speed vertical packaging machine GEA SmartPacker TwinTube. The entire machine has been redesigned as a future-proof modular system with increased functional efficiency promoting higher operational uptime and ease of use.
  • In October 2018, ABB launched a new Food & beverage (F&B) assessment portfolio aimed at helping F&B manufacturers improve processes and reduce production costs by giving them a better understanding of their plant, from power to automation to digital readiness.
  • In August 2018, Schneider Electric develops new end-to-end traceability tool for food and beverage supply chains. Combining its knowledge of the food and beverage market with the expertise of Microsoft, its partner in blockchain technology, the firm's latest traceability application will be able to monitor products across an entire supply chain.
  • In May 2016, Mitsubishi Electric Automation introduced RV-F Series 6-axis robots in 35, 50 and 70 kg payloads. These new robots extend the Mitsubishi Electric RV-F Series product line to address applications that require higher payloads and longer reaches, including CNC machine tending, large material handling and assembly applications.
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