Agribusiness towards a digital revolution

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The agri-food sector has become an industry in which France is internationally recognized. In 2017, exported agri-food products accounted for 48,000 million euros, according to INSEE (1). Rather considered “organic” when agriculture was created tens of thousands of years ago, we are now talking about intensive agriculture. In the 1930s, the first industries were born. Brands like Danone are starting their adventure in the agri-food market.

The development of pesticides and food additives to increase farmers’ yields is rapidly being followed. The industry, despite its scandals, is of great interest, education and recruitment. A digital (r)evolution now secures the future of the agri-food industry. The Alina exhibition had the opportunity to address some of its themes last September in Bordeaux.

Alina: first trade show for the agri-food industry in New Aquitaine

Bordeaux hosted its first edition of Alina, the first trade show for the agri-food industry in New Aquitaine. Organized by ExpoMedia, Alina was present from 24 to 26 September at the Bordeaux Lac Exhibition Park. This fair is aimed at various agri-food sectors: deli meats, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, pastry and bakery…

220 exhibitors between manufacturers and distributors of products were present to pass on their know-how to visitors and introduce them to their new products and services. In order to communicate on the news, values and discoveries around the agri-food industry, many activities were organized over the three days of the show. You could find, at first, conferences related to current events and the various innovations of the industry.

You could also find many conferences including the one around the digitalization and implementation of connected services in dairy factories, the regulation of food labelling or the control of the energy position in the agri-food sector. Key topics such as bio and digital innovations were the flagship conferences. More than twenty lectures were presented to visitors with the intervention of professionals in the field such as Alexandre Moreno, Actalia Environment Project Manager, according to the exhibition’s website (2).

One of the highly anticipated activities of the Alina show happened to be her job dating. The event was organised in the form of 15-minute “express” meetings allowing companies in the food chain to talk to people looking for jobs and who are very interested in the vast and varied agri-food industry.

Pre-meeting coaching sessions were also organised to maximize the comfort and qualities of each participant. Alina, in addition to being an educational salon, to favor a social side and close to the human. A highly recognized quality in the agri-food sector. Added to the job dating, Alina also offered meetings with the young innovators of tomorrow to discuss the new technological services that exist.

Organized in partnership with the Regional Association of Food Industries of New Aquitaine and the Agri-Southwest Innovation Competitiveness Pole, the meeting with innovators brought a lot of knowledge to the visitor to the show. Indeed, the French are now thirsty for knowledge and innovation.

Always with this in mind of innovation, Alina organized an innovation competition. Juries made up of partners, professionals and institutions rewarded the skills of the 40 participating companies and their products. Indeed, the agri-food sector is beginning to take a serious interest in digital technology in order to optimize its activity.

Bordeaux, towards a new agri-food market: digital

Bordeaux offers a dynamic market for agri-food with its diversified offer (1). Indeed, the entire region of New Aquitaine, and not just its regional capital, is concerned with the food industry. According to the Ministry of Agriculture in the region (3), agri-food in New Aquitaine is worth 12 billion euros, which is very substantial. About 2,500 establishments specialize in this sector (production, maintenance, marketing, management, etc.). The logical choice of a trade show around the agri-food industry was therefore open to the Bordeaux city. A show that has notably been able to emphasize the digital innovations of the field.

In recent years, the French have become very suspicious of the agri-food industry following the horsemeat scandals and the high-profile Lactalis case. To remedy this, the food industry had to win back its audience by finding solutions.

These responses resulted in digital solutions. Indeed, the Num-Alim tool (4) will allow in a few years a perfect transparency between producers and consumers. It will collect all farm data. In particular, Num-Alim will be used to list the delivery of animal feed and various treatments. This invention could be considered a digital identity card of the products.

In the digital innovation category, many were presented at the Alina agri-food industry trade show. Indeed, there are now connected tools (3D, robotics, ergonomics…) and “Factory 4.0” (5) to facilitate the comfort of farmers and respect more and more environmental issues.

As far as robotics is concerned, it greatly increases the capacity of employees (5). Robots are capable of increasing the speed and efficiency of services while allowing farmers to take care of other tasks that require human activity.

These inventions are all geared towards the emergence of “The Factory 4.0”. This industry 4.0 is an interconnected factory in which employees, machines and products interact. It involves a digital transformation in order to create a chain ranging from design to product maintenance, leaving an important place for production, which has suffered greatly in recent years from the lack of recognition of the agri-food industry market.

With the help of a connected platform and many intelligent objects, the agri-food sector is entering a new phase of industrial evolution taking into account the value of all players in the agri-food market as well as the quality and transparency of products sold to consumers. Environmental problems have also added to the food industry’s challenges. Digital innovation is a major help to this industry and is now securing its future. Thus, producers, industrialists and commercials now tend to find themselves on an equal footing in terms of the distribution of economic resources.

Kim GABORIEAU – BORDEAUX BUSINESS

Sources

https://www.salonalina.com/

  1. Table of the French Economy, 26/03/19: https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/3676833?sommaire=3696937
  2. Alina conference list: https://connect.eventtia.com/fr/dmz/alina2019/website/register?attendee_type=36139
  3. Agribusiness in New Aquitaine, 09/12/16: http://draaf.nouvelle-aquitaine.agriculture.gouv.fr/Agroalimentaire
  4. Creation of Num-Alim, Camille HAREL’s food identity platform, on 23/11/18: https://www.lsa-conso.fr/creation-de-num-alim-la-plateforme-identitaire-des-produits-alimentaires,304131
  5. Schneider puts the Internet of Things at the heart of its Marion GARREAU offering, 11/04/19: https://www.lsa-conso.fr/schneider-met-l-internet-des-objets-au-coeur-de-son-offre,315601
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