As consumers become more aware of their health needs and preferences, the demand for a wider variety of food products increases. This potentially allows for consumer customization and personalization, but stresses processing systems. In order to fulfill production of a wider variety of products, systems must be flexible and easily reconfigurable. Robotic automation is able to provide food retailers with this flexibility. Flexible automation via robotics can offer food producers increased yield, quality, efficiency and consistency while effectively minimizing errors and reducing waste. They can work in harsh environments and constantly without delays, allowing human employees more time to tend to other higher-level tasks.
This research aims to place robots at retail level (ie. restaurants, supermarkets) to assist producers in providing products to fit consumer needs (i.e. requirements based on health) and consumer demands (i.e. choice based on preference). This processing and production approach also looks at minimizing food waste by meeting the consumer's exact demands.
This research will delve into the processes involved in food production at retailer level, assessing their adaptability and eligibility for customization and personalization by flexible, automated robots.