EVAREST – Generation and utilization of data products in food production through smart services

Duration: 2019 – 2022
Grant: BMWK

With sales of €171 billion and around 580,000 employees, the food industry plays a strategically important role in the German economy and society. Digitization represents an opportunity for the food industry to realize efficiency gains through the utilization of internal and external data. But so far, the data collected en masse in food production is only a means to an end, as the main focus is on local optimization of costs along the value chain. For example, data on raw material quality, seasonal and regional availability, and market demand are generated for local selection of natural raw materials, such as vegetables, grains, and fruits, among others. In addition, there are regulatory requirements for data collection related to traceability of supply chains and raw materials.
Large amounts of data are also collected for the processing of raw materials into standardized products using physical, biological or chemical processes, as well as for the final quality control. The raw data generated in these process steps, as well as their potential processing into usable data, is currently only partially carried out in local data silos per production site purely for the purpose of optimizing production. A cross-site or cross-manufacturer economic utilization of the data is only partially carried out on a high aggregation level, so that a large part of the data value remains unused.

This untapped potential must be processed just as professionally as the usual optimized utilization of physical resources in production. This is because, in the context of a digital transformation, data additionally has the potential to become a product itself (i.e., data product) with additional opportunities for exploitation and thus the basis of a data economy. The potential of digital data as an economic good in its own right has so far been exploited only marginally in Germany. If all the data produced by German industry is brought together, analyzed and condensed into data products, an extremely large digital market will emerge. This market is influenced, limited or even enabled by data protection, economic, strategic and regulatory framework conditions.

The goal of the EVAREST project is to develop and exploit data products in the food production ecosystem through smart services. On the basis of an open, technical data platform that transcends the boundaries of manufacturers, as well as accompanying economic and legal utilization concepts, the (legally) secure utilization of data as an economic good and the provision of user-specific smart services for various stakeholder groups will be made possible.