From chocolate bars to lollipops, gumdrops to Haribos, the confectionary industry is now worth an estimated 210$ billion worldwide. With the industry experiencing strong growth, it is no surprise that confectionary producers are also beginning to implement IoT (Internet of Things) technologies in their production processes in order to achieve efficient outcomes and take further steps forward towards the digital transformation.
Why is IoT technology especially useful in this industry?
Due to the nature of candies, especially chocolate-based confectionary, slight variations in environmental factors such as temperature and moisture level can affect the quality of the final product. This is especially true when we talk about smaller products, such as Hershey’s Twizzlers or Rees’s Peanut Butter Cups, that may have been easily disfigured by temperature fluctuations.
By lining production lines with multiple IoT connected sensors, and linking these with temperature control systems, candy manufacturers are able to maintain a constant environment in their production line. Furthermore, these same sensors are able to check the weight and shape of all pieces, thus allowing manufacturers to reduce waste and provide a better quality, more consistent final product to the consumer.
A current Use Case
Back in 2016, Hershey, a leading American confectionary manufacturer, started to implement IoT technologies in their production line with the aim of optimising production output by more effectively controlling environmental factors.
Currently, Hershey have tested this technology on the Twizzlers production line, installing 22 sensors in the holding tank which deliver 60 million data points. In this case, Microsoft Azure algorithms are used to process these insights.
The benefits don’t end there! This technology also means that manufactures can continue to innovate products without being restricted by product size.
A more controlled environment allows for smaller pieces to be manufactured that would have been deemed previously too ‘environmentally sensitive’. Although this could be bad news for consumers who may soon observe reduced sizes of candy products, it is great news for manufacturers as it allows them to experience dramatic cost savings. In the case of Hersheys, the company estimate that a 1% reduction in the size of each Twizzler would lead to a dramatic cost saving of $500,000 each year!
This technology may also allow manufacturers to experiment with different ingredients and offer vegan/healthier product alternatives, allowing us to all become a little healthier whilst quenching our desire for a sweet treat!
Today’s candy factories may not be run by Willy Wonka and his faithful band of Oompa Loompas, but the magic of IoT technology is transforming production processes worldwide beyond my wildest imagination. Thanks to the use of IoT connected sensors, producers can experience dramatic cost savings and consumers receive a more homogenous and higher quality product, even if it may be little bit smaller in size! As this technology is increasingly adopted within the industry, IoT technology will also allow manufacturers to experiment with recipes and offer a wider variety of products.