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Traceability tech market to hit $14bn

By Jenni Spinner+

16-Jan-2014
Last updated on 16-Jan-2014 at 21:56 GMT2014-01-16T21:56:11Z

Global demand for food traceability gear from suppliers like Intermec is on the rise.
Global demand for food traceability gear from suppliers like Intermec is on the rise.

The worldwide proliferation of food track-and-trace technology is expected to continue marching on to 2020 and beyond.

The global hunger for advanced food traceability technology is fueling growth of the market. Sales of products in the arena are expected to surpass $14.1bn by 2020, with an average annual growth of nearly 9%.

“Food traceability is becoming a norm for all food producers across the globe as a result of consumer demands and government regulations concerning food safety,” said Ashish Gedamkar, associate engineer with Allied Market Research.

Rising technology

The field with the most notable rate of growth is radio-frequency identification (RFID), which is anticipated to rise at a rate of 19.4%. The top factors driving the growth in RFID is the ability to offer real-time tracking regardless of weather or location, and capability to deliver accurate read-write ability in complex situaitons.

According to the company’s market intelligence team, the enthusiastic early adoption of various food tracking technologies in the US, Japan, Australia and other developed countries has helped fuel healthy revenues. However, while less-developed countries lag, the ever-increasing globalization of the food market is driving the growth in traceability in developing countries as well.

Regulatory drivers

Allied’s lead analyst Lita Person said that tough food tracking laws in the US and Europe are a big motivating factor in stepping up such technologies around the world. The trend will continue to surge as local producers step up activity, and as international food companies bring more and more production into developing areas.

Gedamkar pointed out that installation food traceability systems require significant upfront investment. While this presents opportunities for suppliers, it also presents a formidable barrier, because smaller firms find themselves struggling to find the resources for such outlays.

The good news: increased awareness of food traceability technology, and the likely decline in costs as tech advancements help bring the price of adoption down, will reduce the hardship down the road.

Notable segments

Traceability is being implemented across the food chain, with the segment seeing the strongest growth being end users (producers, retailers, warehouses, and the like). Food manufacturers are expected to generate $5.4bn by 2020.

Another tech segment expected to see significant growth: 1D and 2D sensors. Equipment in this field is expected to grow at a rate of nearly 11% up to 2020.

While North America currently is the top consumer of food tracing tech, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to catch up in the next six years. Allied Market Research estimates that North America will grow at a rate of nearly 5%, but that the Asia-Pacific market will see growth of more than triple that, at almost 17%.

Top suppliers in the food traceability technology field include Honeywell, C.H. Robinson, DuPont, Intermec, Motorola Solutions, Cognex, Mass Group, Bio-Rad Laboratories, IBM Corp and Zebra Technologies.

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