Over the last 12 months, just-food has taken an in-depth look at innovation around products and delivery methods, company strategy and macro trends affecting the industry. Here’s our pick of the analysis pieces that appeared in 2020.

Can vertical farming ever become mainstream?
Amid the growing concerns about climate change and feeding the world’s increasing population, especially in urban conurbations in developing countries, Simon Harvey investigated whether vertical farming – growing fresh produce in a controlled environment – can become well-established in the market.

Machine dreams – the future of artificial intelligence in food and beverage operations
Proponents of artificial intelligence say the technology can help food companies, facing pressure from climate change, feed a growing global population with greater efficiency. Lucy Britner looked at how manufacturers could tap into AI.

Is outright sale of Aryzta the ultimate solution to debt woes?
In the spring, European bakery business ARYZTA once again reassessed its business model after a difficult few years – and had agitating shareholders pressing for change, too. Simon Harvey reviewed the options as Covid-19 creates new challenges.

How will Covid-19 shape direct-to-consumer platforms?
We’d seen some radical changes in the way people shop in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. In April, Simon Harvey looked at how might that influence manufacturers’ approach to direct-to-consumer services?

Beyond Covid-19 – what will the ‘new normal’ mean for premium food brands?
In May, Andy Coyne looked at the prospects for premium brands in the likely recessionary climate post-Covid-19 and weighed up the impacts a downturn might have.

Beyond Covid-19 – can meal kits deliver long-term growth?
Andy Coyne also looked at the success enjoyed by meal-kit firms during the lockdown period and assesses their future prospects.

How could Covid-19 change how we think about food?
Our series of features looking beyond Covid-19 also saw Ben Cooper weighing up the possible lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on consumer attitudes to food and on the global food system.

How sustainable is non-plastic packaging?
When it comes to packaging, the focus of policy-makers, businesses and campaign groups has been on disposable plastic. But are the 'plan B' packaging options any good? asks David Burrows in September.

How Covid-19 might shape food companies' innovation
In May, just-food correspondent Simon Creasey looked at how Covid-19 could change the way packaged-food majors approach new product development.

Premier Foods no longer a 'zombie' as debt cuts open doors to M&A
In November, Premier Foods unleashed some impressive first-half results with a notable reduction in the UK manufacturer's debt, along with a leverage target appetiser. It seemed the company had finally shrugged off the 'zombie' appendage that had plagued the business for some time. Could M&A now feature in its plans? asked Simon Harvey.