HOW AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY BENEFITS FROM RFID TECHNOLOGY

HOW CAN RFID TAGS IMPROVE AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY?

Agriculture is facing two new, relevant challenges all over the world: the optimization of food distribution and climate changes.

Globally, 30-40% of all food is wasted, mostly due to lack of infrastructure and knowledge about how to keep food fresh and climate changes are already reshaping the world’s agricultural landscape and cause a significant decline of some productions.

Agricultural operations then show a growing environmental footprint.

To face these challenges, farmers will need to modernize their methods, to invest to improve yield and food availability, and to adopt new technology to improve efficiency.

Here is where RFID plays an important role: this technology can help enhance operations throughout the global food supply chain, increase efficiency, generate accurate data to ensure crop quality and improve distribution of products around the world.

AUTOMATION AND CONTROL

RFID crop tagging helps producers to track every single stage of their activities: with accurate data from each plant, farmers can increase yields and identify issues that may influence them as soon as these appear and require interventions. For instance, RFID may constitute a farm monitoring system whereby farmers can protect their crops from pests.

PRODUCTION TRACEABILITY

Nowadays, food safety is considered a major requirement in several countries that through regulations are imposing traceability to be mandatory for the agri-food sector. Thus, the technological implementation of RFID traceability is becoming crucial, as RFID grants more accuracy and efficiency in comparison to traditional systems that employ labels or barcodes for the commodity identification, and more information that can be brought to final customers.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN DRIVERS OF RFID ADOPTION IN AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY?

The main goal of adopting RFID in agri-food industry is to grant food quality from the field to the table. This is true in particular for some “special” foods: let’s see an example.

Imagine a wine company producing fine wines and willing to ensure that the quality of these wines is preserved during handling, transportation and distribution.

Maintaining temperatures in a reasonable range during shipment and storage plays an important part in preserving the quality of fine wine and spirits. With an RFID tag placed inside each case the wine producers and the distributors can monitor and log ambient temperature many times a day.

Then with a tag attached to the base of each bottle it’s possible to perform shipment verification and to discourage pilferage: so, each bottle can be individually tracked and in case of expensive wines, each consumer can be reassured that the product is authentic.

And wine is just an example: other horticultural food sectors gained additional benefits from the implementation of RFID technology due to human health implications. This is the case for producers and marketers of fresh fruits and vegetables which can use RFID to monitor temperatures and set alarms in case the range goes over the one required for good conservation or to efficiently withdraw their traded goods in cases of sanitary issues.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS?

In food sector the RFID technology seems to be able to solve in a very efficient way the requirements for traceability systems:

  • each tag can uniquely identify the object to which it is attached, even if that object is one of a multitude of identical items or within a wide area;
  • multiple tags can be read real-time, in a very quick way, thanks to readers or gates;
  • tags are easily programmed to retain, gather and display a very large amount of information, so that data that can be collected by traceability systems along the product shelf life, improve business operations and increase the level of information transparency for the consumer.

WHAT ABOUT THE MAIN CHALLENGES?

Some technological problems, such as the lack of consolidated systems, and the costs are still the main obstacles to the wide adoption of RFID-based traceability systems.

Here is where the Inventag Team could help: to face and overcome these challenges by selecting the best technology according to business needs.

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