Food manufacturers’ public references to cloud computing are growing, analysis of companies’ public filings by GlobalData suggests.

The number of times the technology was mentioned was up 62% higher in the third quarter of 2021 versus the corresponding period a year earlier.

Between October 2020 and September 2021, the frequency of sentences related to cloud computing was 220% higher than in 2016, when GlobalData first began to track a series of key issues in company filings.

When food manufacturers publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG strategies and updates, and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies. 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 manufacturers, GlobalData calculates two measures. It looks at the percentage of companies that have mentioned cloud computing at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 39% compared to 11% in 2016. The data and analytics group also calculates the percentage of analysed sentences that refer to the technology.

Of the 50 biggest employers among food manufacturers, dairy giant Saputo was the company that mentioned cloud computing the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 33 cloud-related sentences in the Canada-based company’s filings – 0.7% of all sentences. US manufacturer Hormel Foods mentioned cloud computing the second-most often – the issue was referred to in 0.2% of sentences in the Spam maker’s filings. Other top employers with a high number of cloud mentions included Kraft Heinz, Fresh Del Monte Produce and Kellogg.

Across all food manufacturers, the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on cloud computing came from Australia-based manufacturer Bega Cheese, the owner of the Vegemite brand. Of the document 1,558 sentences, ten (0.6%) referred to cloud computing.

In the quarter under review, food manufacturers 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 0.01% of sentences.

Methodology: This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on cloud computing 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 cloud computing more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are using new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company’s ventures into cloud computing have been successes or failures.

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