Innovation has become the driving force behind companies’ transformation and growth. Today, it allows them to make the most of their resources for greater economic, social, and reputational benefits. Innovating is a necessity and it is becoming the norm in the food industry, a sector in continuous motion that must adapt and adjust to the new needs, preferences, and taste of a wide range of consumers and importers from various parts of the world.
Agrosuper is an example of this trend as it received the award for most innovative Chilean company in 2020. The award given by the ESE Business School and MIC Innovation recognizes groundbreaking efforts and new developments assessing seven key aspects: strategy, culture, leadership, organization, innovation process, use of strategic assets, and impact on value creation.
According to Cristián Meyer, Agrosuper’s Innovation Manager, “innovation plays a fundamental role and it is a key tool for long-term sustainability. That is why we promote spaces for creativity and encourage our team to develop new ideas, to then transform them into projects that are a contribution to the region, the country, and the company by creating and capturing value.”
Technology looking forward
Needle-free vaccines: boosting animal welfare
To improve animal welfare practices, Agrosuper developed and implemented a groundbreaking needle-free vaccine technique that is applied to the pigs’ skin quickly and safely.
The technology, called IDAL and developed by MSD Animal Health, is monitored from a computer or cell phone, which improves traceability and access to information.
“The use of this method reaffirms our commitment to animal welfare and responsible production. We are constantly improving our processes, adding innovation and state-of-the-art technology that ensures the continuity of the production chain in line with sustainability,” said Gonzalo Mena, Agrosuper’s Deputy Manager of Pig Health.
Paw sorter: focused on customers and consumers
Another initiative was the implementation of a technology new to Chile to sort chicken paws. Until recently, sorting was carried out manually. Now, it is done at great speed, which allows for a high-quality product to be delivered to consumers in the Asian market. Based on German technology, it uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimize the selection and sorting of chicken paws through an algorithm. The project involved a 1.7 million USD investment and the installation and start-up process was carried out with remote assistance. It makes it possible to sort 54 paws per hour.
Remote expert: augmented reality to serve the business
A third innovation came from one of the challenges that the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has posed for different industries. In order to continue with audits and preventive maintenance, Agrosuper implemented the “Remote Expert” project, an innovative device in the shape of a headset that sends augmented reality images in real time. The tool includes a built-in camera, headphones, and a microphone, making it possible to receive precise instructions, as well as recording and displaying high-quality images.
Agrosuper catalyst: open innovation
Finally, to promote and develop new, creative and groundbreaking ideas, Agrosuper’s Catalyst open innovation program together with the business accelerator Imagine Lab launched a call for food sector entrepreneurs. Up until March, various Chilean startups were able to introduce and submit a creative solution to solve challenges in the areas of digitization and sensorization, automation and data analytics, and food quality and safety. “This open innovation program lets us interact with new ventures and startups to jointly overcome the challenges faced by our business with a different view while helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas with our experience, networks, guidance and advice,” said Cristián Meyer, Innovation Manager.