The IFSC Revolutionizing Manufacturing

The International Food Science Center (IFSC) is making bold moves, incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into its day-to-day operations.

Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados (BIDC), Mark Hill, spoke of this latest technology push at the IFSC, following a tour of the agency’s booths at Agrofest 2024 at Queen’s Park on February 24. This year, Export Barbados, a regular exhibitor at the agricultural exhibition in Bridgetown, hosted two booths showcasing the work of IFSC and one in partnership with the Republic of Cuba.

Launched by Export Barbados in November 2022, the IFSC, located at Newton Industrial Estate in Christ Church, manufactures products to international standards for large, small and micro food processors, giving Barbadian brands more opportunities for export. Currently, the IFSC manufactures condiments such as pepper sauce, barbeque sauce, and wet seasonings.

CEO Hill revealed that the IFSC website is now live, and entrepreneurs can explore “manufacturing on the go” by selecting their manufacturing plan, creating a manufacturing schedule, packaging and contactless delivery.

He further disclosed, “Now we are getting ready to move to phase two, where we will be incorporating artificial intelligence to help persons do their manufacturing from their phone. So, once you design your product and the food scientists develop your encrypted formula, send it to the International Food Science Center, and the robotics technology we are implementing will execute your order right through to delivery. So, we’re now moving towards what we call industry 5.0 to really boost our capacity to complete delivery”.

Mr. Hill also pointed to Export Barbados’ INEZ Estate Management website, where entrepreneurs can receive assistance with business plans and marketing strategies and identify which of the Corporation’s estates best suits their business needs.

“All of that is happening in the background without us being there, so we are open 24 hours to help businesspersons – small entrepreneurs through the artificial intelligence platform to develop their businesses. We are going to expand so that it is comprehensively helping every Barbadian business to be able to make the best decisions they can going forward with the knowledge that artificial intelligence can provide them with,” he added.

Brand manager of Landship Foods, Negus Sealy, further highlighted the products and services on hand at the IFSC, stating that the center emphasizes assistance and support for small-scale producers and microprocessors on the island. The high-quality food processing facility also offers small batch kitchen rental suitable for small manufacturers and caterers, bottling and labelling, blending and pureeing of raw materials, bottle washing and supply of pepper mash.

“So, if you have an idea to be bold, to be creative, bring it to us. We have all the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Certification,” he said, also revealing that the IFSC has the capacity to finalize 35 finished products within one minute.

The brand manager added, “We do everything from raw material prep to food creation; we have food scientists on board and have the capacity to test the foods. So, we really have a good thing going at the International Food Science Center in Barbados, and we intend to trend in a positive direction and slowly convert Barbados from being so dependent on imports and consumerism to having us producing more and elevating our products on different markets around the world”.

Agrofest, the national agricultural exhibition, ran from February 23-25, 2024.