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August 15, 2022

Filings buzz: tracking food manufacturing interest in automation

GlobalData analyses annual reports and other filings to see which key issues are receiving the most attention.

By Data Journalism Team

Mentions of industrial automation within the filings of companies in the food manufacturing industry were 56% higher in the second quarter of 2022 than in Q2 of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to industrial automation between July 2021 and June 2022 was 104% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When food manufacturing companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Industrial automation is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether industrial automation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of food manufacturing companies, GlobalData calculates two measures. It looks at the percentage of companies that have mentioned big data at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 70% compared to 54% in 2016. It also calculates the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to the topic.

Of the ten biggest employers in the food manufacturing industry, Tyson Foods was the company that referred to industrial automation the most between July 2021 and June 2022. GlobalData identified 37 industrial automation-related sentences in the United States-based company's filings – 0.9% of all sentences. PepsiCo mentioned industrial automation the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.2% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high industrial automation mentions included Grupo Bimbo, JBS and Wilmar International.

Across all food manufacturing companies, the filing published in the second quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on industrial automation came from Saudi Arabian group SADAFCO. Of the document's 1,151 sentences, five (0.4%) referred to industrial automation.

In the last quarter, food manufacturing companies based in western Europe were most likely to mention industrial automation with 0.11% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Asia mentioned industrial automation in just 0.09% of sentences.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on industrial automation and how important the issue is considered within the food manufacturing industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning industrial automation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into industrial automation have been successes or failures.

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