Will data be the new oil for the food industry?

Technology is providing revolutionary ways for the food industry to change how business is done. ING published a report that stated that ‘technology helps food manufacturers produce more efficiently.’ Similarly, through the application of new technology, the processing and packaging of food can be improved, which in turn can extend the shelf life and enhance the safety of food. With the use of these innovative technologies, an abundance of data is produced across all the business processes and readily available to put to good use. Let’s take more of an in-depth look into data and the value it can bring to the food industry.

Written by Casper Brundel, Schouw Informatisering

The refinement

At first sight, data is used to fuel much of the transformative technology that is increasingly being used today, such as AI, automation, and predictive analytics. Likewise, although both data and oil are inherently valuable, data needs processing just like oil needs refining before it truly becomes of value.

In the case of data, the quality becomes an important factor that will determine the value and potential to bring a positive change to the business. When a company is mostly focused on operational processes, assuring data quality can become problematic. Solutions like Business Intelligence can enable a business to see where improvements are needed regarding the quality of the data.

Value over time used

While the value of oil gets lost after its processed to transfer to light, heat or convert into plastic. Data on the other hand, once processed, can be used for multiple applications such as Artificial Intelligence, Demand Forecasting and Machine learning.


In the case of oil, the world’s reserves are in constant decline. Making the extracting process more difficult and costlier, which further increases the level of scarcity. On the contrary, the availability of data is booming, with every type of machine being able to operate online and sophisticated sensors connected to the Intelligent Cloud

Source of power

Finally, data similar to oil, provides a great source of power to those who possess it and are able to extract it’s value. Think of the large, multi-billion corporations in the oil industry similar to organizations like Google or Facebook, whose businesses largely depend on the collecting and processing of data. In order to unlock the potential power of data within your company, it is vital to have a single company-wide software system as a foundation.

We can conclude that Data and oil share some similarities but certainly also have distinct differences. While the scarcity and climate effect of oil forces us to look for alternatives, leveraging the (potential) power of data is still in its infancy phase. With the rapidly increasing availability (data), the success of future businesses could be determined by how well they’re able to leverage their data.