Industrial Robots for Customisation and Personalisation of Food Products

By: Farah Bader  

Food producing organisations are currently witnessing a great shift in consumer demands. Increased populations, changing demographics and the development of many multi-cultural communities have resulted in different consumer needs and wants. These needs and wants are the basis of the demand for personalised and customised food products. Personalised Food Products (PFP) are based on consumer needs that stem from health issues and age or dietary requirements. When consumers opt for PFP, they are requesting products that are specifically tailored to their needs. However, consumers who make biased food choices based on partialities, trends or seasonality are opting for Customised Food Products (CFP). Both PFP and CFP generate products that are specified to an individual’s needs or wants, creating a wide range of food compositions. Providing PFP and CFP to consumers may be possible in small-scale catering facilities, however, it is nearly impossible to achieve at retail or manufacturing level which typically focus on mass production of a single or limited variety of products. In order to facilitate a high variety of made-to-order products, a high level of technology offering increased production flexibility is needed. Industrial robots are presented as a strong contender for this role, as they may facilitate PFP and CFP via their ease of reconfigurability and interchangeability. This presentation reviews the future of food as driven by the emerging consumer demands and offers insights on the role industrial robots may play in the production of PFP and CFP at various levels of the food production and food retail industries.

Personalisation, Customisation, Robotics
Food Production and Sustainability
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Farah Bader

PhD Student, Wolfson Engineering, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
United Kingdom