ERP Manufacturing Insights

The History of Food and Beverage Manufacturing

The history of food and beverage manufacturing

Many people don’t consider the influence of the food and beverage manufacturing industry on their daily lives. Without it, though, the world would be much poorer and hungrier. The advances and innovations of food and beverage manufacturing have been paving the way for progress for thousands of years.

The practice of food manufacturing began with simple but vital creations such as pickling and fermentation. Several thousand years later, the industry is a vital force for innovation, and the strategic deployment of ERP for food manufacturing software remains key for manufacturers navigating the 21st century food and beverage market. 

History food beverage erp manufacturing
As consumers become rapidly more health- and environment-conscious, they’ve grown organic food into a $49.4 billion market

The Very Beginning: Salt, Smoke, Yeast and More

Humans have been making their own food and beverages for thousands upon thousands of years. From the first meat roasted over cookfires to the invention of beer, innovations in food processing have changed human history again and again. 

Some of the most notable developments include:

  • Cooking food to kill microorganisms within and increase its nutritional value

  • Smoked, salted and pickled meats that would keep in storage

  • Beer and wine, which were sometimes safer to drink than water in places without sanitary fresh water

  • Using yeast to create bread, a stable and affordable food source

These innovations helped lay the foundations of human civilization and trade, and they also paved the way for the many inventions to come. 

The Industrial Revolution: Food for the People

Fast-forward several thousand years, and the food industry as most people know it was beginning to emerge. As the American population flowed into cities en masse at the turn of the 20th century, it became apparent that new food systems would be necessary. 

The Industrial Revolution saw numerous food and beverage innovations, including:

  • The canning process, an easy way to safely preserve a variety of foodstuffs

  • Pasteurization, which greatly increased the safety of packaging fresh foods such as dairy and vegetables

  • Mechanization of farming, which massively increased the industry’s efficiency

With industrialization in full swing, the food industry continued to break barriers and create a safer and better-fed population. The early 20th century would pose profound new challenges and create the systems that many rely on today. 

Food industry erp organic
ERP systems for food and beverage manufacturing continue to be a key strategic asset for consumer goods

Postwar America: The Table of Progress

World Wars I and II mobilized the American agricultural system like never before, and the systems they helped create changed the face of food and beverage manufacturing forever. Suddenly, food was significantly cheaper and more widely available, and new forms of food such as frozen meals became an integral part of American life:

  • Refrigerators became commonplace, expanding the ability to keep perishable foods at home

  • The microwave oven fostered the widespread adoption of frozen meals

  • Processed commercial food became an affordable and reliable source of food for millions

  • The Food and Drug Administration became the regulator of the American food supply and established stringent new safety standards to protect the public

Near the end of the 1980s, the first ERP systems emerged. These systems offered unprecedented resource management tools for manufacturers and distributors and continued to evolve by technological leaps and bounds. As the 20th and 21st centuries continued to produce astonishing food innovations, ERP software became a vital investment for growing businesses. 

The 21st Century: New Revolutions

Today, the future of food production is bright and exciting as the industry continues to tackle new challenges and produce the innovations the world needs. Americans are demanding more and more from their food manufacturers, and manufacturers are leveraging every asset to step up and deliver. Many revolutionary innovations have come to the industry, including:

  • As consumers become rapidly more health- and environment-conscious, they’ve grown organic food into a $49.4 billion market and plant-based meat substitutes to $670 million.

  • Beer brewing has come roaring back as an art form and a business, creating the $26 billion U.S. craft brewing industry and thousands of exciting new businesses.

  • Hemp, cannabis and CBD-based products are now poised to become some of the 21st century’s biggest growth markets.

  • eCommerce has expanded into the food and beverage sector, from Grubhub to Amazon Fresh to Blue Apron, necessitating innovative practices for an omnichannel world.


Food erp innovations
As these industries evolve, they increasingly rely on the power of ERP software to deliver

ERP systems for food and beverage manufacturing continue to be a key strategic asset for consumer goods manufacturers in industries from traditional CPGs to cannabis products. As these industries evolve, they increasingly rely on the power of ERP software to deliver:

  • Supply chain and logistics management

  • Recipe and formula management

  • End-to-end production management

  • Lot traceability and other measures for transparency and consumer safety

  • Financial tools including accounting and forecasting

  • FDA compliance and industry manufacturing standards compliance

These functions continue to gain importance as manufacturers tackle the exciting new innovations and challenges ahead. It’s an increasingly integrated, global and omnichannel world, and the food and beverage industry is – in many ways – at the heart of the changes. 

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