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November 4, 2021updated 01 Feb 2022 11:02am

Filings buzz in food manufacturing – cloud computing mentions on the rise

By Andrew Hillman

Mentions of cloud computing within the public filings of companies in the food manufacturing industry rose 27% between the first and second quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to cloud computing between July 2020 and June 2021 was 218% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When food manufacturing companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Cloud computing is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether cloud computing is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of food manufacturing companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned the topic at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 42% compared to 13% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to cloud computing.

Of the 50 biggest employers in the food manufacturing indsutry, Canada-based dairy group Saputo was the company that referred to the issue the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 35 cloud-related sentences in the Canada-based company's filings – 0.9% of all sentences. Kraft Heinz mentioned cloud computing the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.2% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with a high level of mentions of the cloud included US manufacturer Hormel Foods, fruit-and-veg major Fresh Del Monte Produce and Kellogg.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and how important the issue is considered within the food manufacturing indsutry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning cloud computing more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into cloud computing have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, food manufacturing companies based in the US were most likely to mention cloud computing with 0.05% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Western Europe mentioned cloud computing in just 0.01% of sentences.

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