Food and drink companies could amass an extra £56bn in value over the next ten years by investing in digital technology, according to research from professional services company Accenture.

This figure represents up to 12% of the industry’s gross value added, which measures individual industries’ contributions to the national economy.

Through investments in digital technology the sector could generate an extra £3bn in revenue over the next decade, and reduce costs by nearly £53bn. A sum of £2bn in savings could potentially be passed on to consumers.

According to the study, customised manufacturing might well enable premium pricing, and data analytics may be used to help source and develop greater product innovation and diversity. Real-time data and robotics offer improvements to the food supply chain by increasing output and reducing contamination risks during food processing and distribution.

The study estimated that investing in a combination of digital technologies could increase speed of production and improve product satisfaction by 25%.

Accenture Managing Director Yen-Sze Soon said: “Most food and drink companies we work with recognise that digital technologies can drive transformation and growth, but many aren’t yet realising this potential. This research quantifies the potential prize for industry, individuals and society if they get this right.​

“The solution is what we call Industry X.0. It’s an action plan for embracing technological change and profiting from it. More than just transforming into digital businesses, food and drink companies must look at how they reinvent operating models, production and value chains.”​

Software supplier Muddy Boots reported that more than four million fresh produce items were quality checked in 2017 by its Greenlight Quality Control software, an increase of 19% from 2016.

A survey of more than 900 executives worldwide showed last month that only 13% believed their digital investments has led to greater efficiency and growth.