Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE), in collaboration with Cranfield University, released a plan for creating a more sustainable food and beverage manufacturing industry in Great Britain by 2050. To make the journey a reality, CCE also allocated funds to the project, with an initial commitment of £56m, increasing to £356m in the last six years of the plan.

Back in 2015, the collaboration led to a white paper, with six themes for further development: people, big data, technology, collaboration, value, and resilience. The ensuing research on these themes revealed important insights into the development of more sustainable manufacturing. This led to the creation of five pathways help the food and beverage industry successfully create the “factory of the future” by 2050. These pathways each identify initiatives for industry to adopt on their journey to successful sustainable manufacturing.

  1. Anticipating the future: Manufacturers will increase efficiency in the future using big data and the Internet of Things. Technology will enhance the ability of manufactures to be closer to their supply chains and therefore assure quality and resource availability. Companies need to optimize the production process using rich data and to share more information with the consumers.

  2. Providing nutrition: The introduction of “smart ingredients” that can replace things like sugar, salt, and fat will help solve for the growing issues in the food and beverage industry regarding health, ethics, and animal welfare. Companies need to focus on nutrition and the value to the customer. Also, by using more local resources and using real-time monitoring technologies, manufacturers can reduce waste and improve efficiency.

  3. Sharing the benefits: Engaging the consumer and collaborating within the industry will be key ingredients for success in the future. Companies must start considering well-being and coopetition over competitive advantage. Companies will need to use open innovation by sharing intellectual property and increase engagement with society.

  4. Inspiring the next generation: There is a growing skills gap as many valued employees are retiring. Additionally, as automation of technology grows, there is still a need for the skilled individuals to address challenges. Companies will need to integrate with universities, engaging students on industry needs as well as the growing focus of younger generations towards ethics and sustainability challenges.

  5. Joining forces: In the future, companies engaging society and joining forces with each other will be accepted as the best practices for positive growth. This will change the way value and leadership is understood. Companies must become the spark that leads society and all parts of its value chain toward sustainable environmental impacts.

CCE is focused on substantial changes in its operations in order to meet the needs of society in the future. They believe in a strong commitment and decisive action as the means to achieving the 2050 Factory of the Future goals.

See the full report.