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March 22, 2022

Filings buzz: the Internet of Things and food manufacturing

By Andrew Hillman

Mentions of the Internet of Things within the public filings of food manufacturers are on the rise, according to an analysis of the latest research from GlobalData.

The topic was cited 43% more often in the third quarter of 2021 than in the corresponding period of 2020, GlobalData, Just Food’s parent company, says.

Between October 2020 and September 2021, the frequency of sentences related to the Internet of Things was 210% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData first began to track the key issues mentioned in company filings.

When food manufacturers 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. The Internet of Things 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 the Internet of Things is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of food manufacturers, GlobalData calculates two measures. It looks at the percentage of companies that have mentioned the Internet of Things at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 32% compared to 16% in 2016. The company also calculates the percentage of sentences that referred to the Internet of Things.

Of the 50 biggest employers in the food manufacturing industry, Yildiz Holding was the company that referred to the Internet of Things the most between October 2020 and September 2021. India’s ITC mentioned the topic the second-most. Other employers with a high number mentions included dairy giant Lactalis, Brazil’s M. Dias Branco and bakery major Grupo Bimbo.

Across all food manufacturers, the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on the Internet of Things came from Indian conglomerate ITC. Of the document's 5,221 sentences, 14 (0.3%) referred to the internet of things.

GlobalData also categorises mentions by a series of sub-themes. Of the sub-themes related to the Internet of Things, the most commonly cited topic in the third quarter of 2021 was ‘industrial internet’, which made up 48% of all sub-theme mentions by food manufacturers.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on the internet of things and how important the issue is considered within the food manufacturing industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning the internet of things 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 the internet of things have been successes or failures.

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