Mekitec acquires Bimbo’s AI software subsidiary: ‘We’ll be one of the creators of the next generation of inspection, starting with baking’
The deal cements an already established partnership between Grupo Bimbo and Mekitec. The Mexican bakery giant has been using Mekitec’s X-ray systems – powered by Kanan’s software – for the past five years. Kanan specialises in artificial vision technology, with specific focus on X-ray inspection to detect foreign objects in bakery products.
Under the share transaction, Grupo Bimbo’s venture arm, Bimbo Ventures, will become a significant shareholder of Mekitec and will support the Finnish company in accelerating its growth.
Furthermore, it will strengthen Mekitec’s footprint in Latin America. The transaction includes Kanan’s 13-strong software development, sales and service teams in Mexico. The inspection software company also has a presence in Ecuador, the US and France.
The future of food inspection
According to Pablo Sánchez, CEO of Kanan and principal at Bimbo Ventures, artificial intelligence (AI) is the future of food inspection.
Today, the food industry – and no less the bakery sector – is under increasing pressure to up food safety to ensure that each piece is free from contaminants and quality defects. In food inspection, X-ray systems are considered the most sustainable choice, as they minimise waste, while maximising traceability without compromising consumer safety.
Kanan’s software is designed to instantly detect quality defects , such as missing product, part or filling, along with contaminants such as ceramics, high-density glass, stainless steel, stone, filth and metals. An X-ray image is captured of all the products that pass through the equipment and analysed with tailored inspection software.
“AI is transforming food inspection and enabling our customers to deliver ever better products to their customers,” said Sánchez.
“We’re excited that together with Mekitec, we’ll be one of the creators of the next generation of inspection, starting with baking.”
Since its first installation in 2011, Mekitec has provided over 1,000 bespoke food quality control systems based on X-ray technology to customers in more than 40 countries. The global company employs over 55 people around the world and posts an annual revenue of $5.7m.
Lead the industry
“Traceability and artificial intelligence are significant drivers for the future of food safety,” said Antti Sivula, Mekitec’s CEO.
“This acquisition is of major strategic importance for Mekitec, enabling us to lead the industry development globally. Having Bimbo Ventures as a partner and Grupo Bimbo as a customer means that our product development will always be fully aligned with the industry needs.”
Raul Obregon, chief information and transformation officer at Grupo Bimbo, added, “Our company has a relentless commitment to quality. Grupo Bimbo doesn’t only want to adopt the best technology for quality assurance out there but also partnerships that allow us to co-create the future of food inspection with top technology developers.”
Grupo Bimbo is the largest baking company in the world. It has 203 bakeries and around 1,700 sales centres in 33 countries. It trades on the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) under BIMBO, and in the over-the-counter market in the United States with a Level 1 ADR under BMBOY.