Tag Archives: Supply Chain

Supply chain

Next Week: Virtual Event Targets Hazards in the Food Supply Chain

By Food Safety Tech Staff
No Comments
Supply chain

Next week Food Safety Tech is hosting a virtual event that brings together subject matter experts with decades of experience at food companies who will help attendees recognize when and how to pivot in the face of global supply chain issues, how to be nimble during these challenges, and how to establish the adaptable mindset required to navigate these ever-changing circumstances.

Food Safety Tech Hazards Series: Supply Chain takes place on Wednesday, May 18 at 12 pm ET.

Presentations are as follows:

  • Pivoting on a Dime: How and When to Adjust Your Supply Chain Program, with Elise Forward, President & Principal Consultant, Forward Food Solutions
  • Remaining Agile During Supply Chain Disruptions: A Manufacturer’s Point of View, with April Bishop, Sr. Director Food Safety, TreeHouse Foods
  • Be a Game Changer to Manage Supply Chain Risk, with Liliana Casal-Wardle, Ph.D., Sr. Director Food Safety, the Acheson Group

The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion with the speakers.

This event is sponsored by SGS. Register now for Food Safety Tech Hazards Series: Supply Chain.

Oren Zaslansky

Using Technology in Food Logistics Management Improves Speed to Shelves

By Maria Fontanazza
No Comments
Oren Zaslansky

The global supply chain is only getting more interconnected and complex, and with that, the need to improve food logistics strategies has never been greater. The role of technology in providing greater accuracy, traceability and transparency continues to be a critical component in food logistics management—and the matter becomes more urgent when dealing with perishable food products. Shipping these products requires stringent cold chain controls to prevent spoilage. In a Q&A with Food Safety Tech, Oren Zaslansky, CEO of Flock Freight, discusses how more thoughtful food logistics strategies can ultimately save companies time and money, as well as get products on store shelves faster.

Learn about how to manage supply chain challenges during Food Safety Tech’s upcoming virtual event on Supply Chain Hazards | May 18, 2021 @ 12 pm ET | Register nowFood Safety Tech: How is technology helping food companies solve the logistical challenges triggered by the pandemic?

Oren Zaslansky: Shipping perishable or fragile goods is no easy task. Shippers must maintain tight controls over every aspect of the shipping process—from timing to handling—to avoid damage or compromised product integrity. When things go wrong, rejected shipments can cost money, and food safety concerns can cost business. A recent survey of shippers across the United States found that 100% of respondents reported that their LTL freight arrived late in 2021, and 100% had to remanufacture and reship goods due to damage.

Luckily, there are food transportation methods that lower the risk of product damage and spoilage due to delays. Right now, food manufacturers typically choose between truckload (TL) and less than truckload (LTL) shipping, but they should instead consider shared truckload (STL) for freight that can’t fill an entire trailer to capacity. Speed to shelves is key for food shippers and traditional LTL has as low as 40–70% on-time service. Meanwhile, STL has a 94% average on-time performance.

STL places shipments (from multiple shippers that are traveling on a similar route) onto the same truck, optimizing the best possible routes so freight never loads or unloads between pickup and delivery. To achieve this, an STL solution can use advanced algorithms to analyze hundreds of thousands of shipments, with the goal of combining freight into terminal-free loads that fill trucks to capacity. This minimizes potential delays and reduces damage to 0.1%. Trucks are filled to capacity, reducing the cost of shipping midsized freight, while maximizing carriers’ earnings, eliminating unnecessary mileage, and contributing to a more sustainable supply chain.

Oren Zaslansky
Oren Zaslansky, CEO of Flock Freight, a logistics provider that guarantees shared truckload service.

FST: Are there particular sectors of the food industry that can benefit more from these technologies?

Zaslansky: Any perishable and fragile foods are an obvious answer, but this technology can be deployed for any type of food or beverage, and even for companies that create packaging for foods and beverages. Any sector that has difficulty filling its trucks to capacity, yet has strict product integrity and delivery timeframes, is the right fit for technology that enables shared truckloads at scale.

FST: How can logistics companies work with food manufacturers to ensure the most effective method/solution is implemented when shipping products?

Zaslansky: As COVID cases start to fall, people will start eating out again, putting pressure on restaurants, which will ultimately lead to truck shortages because everyone will need them. The number one way to combat this will be to make sure each truck is filled to capacity and rely on technologies that optimize routes that will get them where they need to go in a timely manner.

For shippers, shared truckload service enables them to only pay for the space they need (versus paying for space they can’t fill), and for carriers, optimizing their truck and driver schedules to make the best use of their fleet will help them stay ahead.

The above technology that enables shared truckloads at scale will help food shippers track perishable shipments and spot inefficiency in their food and beverage supply chains. By working with the right partners and implementing sound food logistics strategies, shippers can better understand weak spots in their supply chains, more quickly implement solutions, and more effectively protect the freshness or integrity of perishable and fragile goods.

Food Safety Tech Hazards Series: Supply Chain

The past two years have pushed food companies to the limit, as they have worked tirelessly to ensure that safe, quality food is delivered to the consumer amidst a global pandemic that continues. This virtual event brings together subject matter experts with decades of experience at food companies who will help you recognize when and how to pivot in the face of global supply chain issues, how to be nimble during these challenges, and how to establish the adaptable mindset required to navigate these ever-changing circumstances.

CJ Pakeltis, RizePoint
FST Soapbox

Food Businesses: Reduce Food Waste and Save Significant Money

By CJ Pakeltis
No Comments
CJ Pakeltis, RizePoint

After two years of COVID-19—and now an escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict—the failing supply chain is a pressing concern in the food industry. Exacerbating the supply chain issues is our excessive food waste problem. As supplies become more difficult and expensive to secure, we should be focusing more attention on reducing waste. Food businesses that proactively work to reduce food waste will save significant money, meet corporate sustainability goals and help the planet.

Food waste is estimated at between 30-40% of the U.S. food supply, which equates to an astonishing 133 billion pounds and $161 billion in waste, according to the USDA. In addition to discarded food, there is also considerable waste of labor, energy and other resources that go into producing, processing, transporting, prepping, cooking, storing and disposing of unused food.

Food waste occurs for many reasons, including:

  • Spoilage at every stage of the supply chain
  • Problems like mold or bacteria during harvesting, transporting, processing, etc.
  • Damage by insects, rodents, and other pests.
  • Equipment malfunction (such as faulty walk-in coolers).
  • Improper storage (e.g., not holding foods at proper temperatures).
  • Over-ordering, over-prepping, or cooking more than what’s needed, and tossing out the extras.

Many food businesses inadvertently practice wasteful behaviors. This is due, in large part, to the lack of accurate, comprehensive data. If operators don’t have accurate data about their inventory, sales patterns and forecasts, it can lead to food waste, which can be costly to your business and damaging to our planet.

At a time when every dollar counts—and the supply chain is strained—your organization should proactively work to reduce food waste. The following are some effective ways to accomplish this goal.

  • Adopt the right software. Integrated software is the best solution to eliminate wasted food, money and other resources. Today’s systems allow organizations to view sales patterns, track inventory, manage production, avoid overstocking, enhance food safety and quality, and determine areas of wastage. Tech solutions allow organizations to use data—not instincts—to make better, more profitable, less wasteful decisions.
  • Conduct a food waste audit. Food waste is bad for the environment as well as business margins. A food waste audit can help a company determine how much food is being wasted, as well as the type of foods not being used effectively. This practice can help companies address waste problems and adjust their inventory accordingly.
  • Implement sustainable strategies. It’s problematic—and wasteful—when retail locations receive large quantities of fresh foods and can’t sell it all before it spoils. Hannaford Supermarkets found a solution to this common conundrum. They have their trucks deliver smaller amounts of food more frequently—versus less frequent, higher volume deliveries. As a result, they are selling fresher produce with less waste.
  • Make waste reduction part of company culture. Train staff to reduce waste, and properly use, cook, package and store foods while always prioritizing waste reduction. Adopt a waste-not-want-not mindset and follow sustainable strategies that are practiced starting in the C-suite.
  • Donate surplus food. After learning that billions of pounds of food goes to waste in the United States while millions of people are going hungry, entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe created Goodr, a food waste management company that connects food businesses with a surplus of supplies to non-profit organizations that give it to the food insecure. Additionally, grocery chain Trader Joe’s is well-known for their generous food donation program. In just one year, the company donated $295 million worth of their unused products to food banks, feeding the hungry and eliminating a huge amount of waste.
  • Improve packaging. Our industry must create better packaging that effectively protects and preserves food throughout the entire supply chain cycle—and helps reduce waste. For instance, companies are experimenting with more compostable packaging, clearer use-by/expiration dates, easier-to-understand usage instructions, tips for storing leftovers, and ways to use some of the food without compromising the rest of the food in the package.
  • Reconsider portion size. Some restaurants offer smaller meals (i.e., half portions) to reduce waste. Food manufacturers are also providing smaller options, such as the single-serving Duncan Hines Perfect Size Cakes for customers who want just a small treat without having to waste an entire cake. Sabra Singles hummus, Good Culture cottage cheese, Kraft Mac and Cheese and other companies offer single serving containers, which means less waste.
  • Use every scrap. Vegetable peels, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and other non-meat scraps can be used for compost, which is nutrient-rich and will go back into the earth to grow more food. Use the compost to grow your own herbs and produce or share it with local farmers and gardeners.
  • Consider other eco-friendly options. Sustainable organizations are taking our food scraps and recycling them into bioenergy, bioplastics and clothing. Investigate eco-friendly organizations in your area and donate your unused food to them to repurpose it. For instance, H&M’s Conscious collection uses silk-like fabric made from citrus juice by-products and discarded orange peels. Other clothing lines, cosmetics companies and other innovators are making sustainable products from food waste.

It is important to recognize that the food industry’s waste isn’t limited solely to food. The following are some additional eco-friendly practices that companies can implement.

  • Reduce plastic waste. Americans produce a whopping 42 million tons of plastic waste annually. Increasingly, companies are looking for eco-friendlier options. Footprint, a materials science company, is inventing and manufacturing plant-based solutions to replace plastic. This innovative company is working with food companies—including McDonalds, Costco and Conagra—to adopt plant-based solutions, eliminate short-term use plastic, reduce CO2 emissions, cut landfill waste, and reach corporate sustainability goals. Stonyfield Farm, known for their planet-friendly business practices, is making their yogurt cups from plants. In fact, the market for edible packaging is on the rise, and expected to grow by almost 5% by 2030. A growing number of food businesses are now relying on biodegradable and compostable packaging solutions instead of plastic. Are you one of them?
  • Pick the right partners. Select partners (e.g., suppliers, vendors, etc.) that are also focused on sustainability. Digital solutions can easily track supplier certifications to ensure that you’re sourcing from—and collaborating with—other companies that are committed to waste reduction and other eco-friendly business practices.
  • Focus on sustainability. It takes considerable energy to run equipment non-stop, so shut down non-essential equipment during slow times to save energy and money. Also, insulate your hot water pipes to decrease the amount of water your organization uses (and lower your heating needs and costs). Turn off the air conditioning and open windows. Use silverware instead of plasticware, and reusable towels instead of paper. Think of different ways to reduce waste throughout your organization and you’ll save money, resources, and the environment.

Prioritize waste reduction using these proven strategies. Remember that every little bit helps, and even the smallest changes will add up to a substantial difference over time.

Guangtao Zhang, Ph.D., director of the Mars Global Food Safety Center

Complexity of Food Allergen Management Requires Global Collaboration

By Maria Fontanazza
No Comments
Guangtao Zhang, Ph.D., director of the Mars Global Food Safety Center

Undeclared allergens continue to be a big cause of food recalls. For allergen management practices to be effective within food companies, there must be a shared responsibility between food manufacturers, government agencies, regulators and consumers, says Guangtao Zhang, Ph.D., director of the Mars Global Food Safety Center. In a Q&A with Food Safety Tech, Zhang discussed key concerns related to undeclared allergens in food as well as the research that Mars is conducting to improve allergen management.

Food Safety Tech: The presence of undeclared allergens continues to be a hazard in the food safety space. Specific to peanut detection, what challenges is the industry facing?

Guangtao Zhang, Ph.D., director of the Mars Global Food Safety Center
Guangtao Zhang, Ph.D., director of the Mars Global Food Safety Center. All images courtesy of Mars.

Guangtao Zhang, Ph.D.: As food materials become more varied and complicated, food allergen management becomes increasingly complex. Robust, accurate and sensitive detection methods are essential to ensure consumer safety as well as compliance with regulatory standards for allergens in the food supply chain.

When you look at the regulatory aspects, detection methods go hand in hand. Firstly, there is a need to ensure that current standard detection methods used in regulatory control of consumer goods are validated for a range of complex food matrices to ensure neither over- nor under-estimation of allergen content occurs within a food supply chain. This is important because underestimation of allergen poses a significant food safety hazard to consumers, while overestimation of allergen can result in unnecessary product recalls, driving up product costs and food waste.

Secondly, validation and monitoring of the effectiveness of cleaning and handling practices in areas of potential cross contamination with allergen containing materials depend on reliable and robust quantitative food allergen test methods for their success. The more robust the testing protocols, the more we can improve our understanding of the risks associated with cross contamination of food allergens, potentially reducing the frequency of accidental contamination events.
It is also important to note that whilst the most common cause of undeclared allergen in the global food supply chain is through accidental contamination in raw materials or finished products, this is not the only method by which undeclared allergen may be found in a product.

For example, peanut flour may be used in economically motivated adulteration (EMA) food fraud cases. In 2018 the European Commission estimated that the cost of food fraud for the global food industry is approximately €30 billion every year. Due to its high protein content, peanut flour has been used as a bulking agent to raise the overall protein content of e.g., wheat flour, thus raising the ‘quality’, and therefore price, of lower value goods. The ability to effectively quantify peanut traces within complex products therefore has the potential to enable consumers of food products to further trust the safety of the food they eat.

ELISA (Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) is the method used most frequently for peanut allergen detection in the food manufacturing industry because of its sensitivity and ease of use. However, it has disadvantages in certain settings. It is not currently validated for complex food matrices, as it is believed that the effects of both food matrices and food processing could result in an underestimation of peanut concentrations in thermally processed foods, leading to false negatives, as well as overestimation in complex food matrices, leading to false positives which are a potential food safety hazard to consumers.

Food Safety Tech: Tell us about the research that the Mars Global Food Safety Center is doing to help the industry with effective methods for peanut quantification.

Zhang: At the Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC) we believe that everyone has the right to safe food and that we have a responsibility to generate and share insights to help solve for global food safety challenges. We also know we can’t tackle these alone, which is why we collaborate with external partners. One of our focus areas is advancing understanding and knowledge sharing in peanut allergen detection. As part of that work, we are exploring methods of improving food safety via the development of advanced analytical methods to detect peanut allergen content, in the hopes that it will enable the food industry to expand on current preventative management protocols, including early detection methodologies, for faster response to future food allergen contamination events.

As part of our latest published research, we investigated the accuracy and sensitivity of ELISA-based test methods on raw and cooked wheat flour, wheat flour-salt and wheat flour-salt-oil matrices, which are common ingredients in the food industry. 10 ppm peanut was doped into each matrix during sample preparation. Recovery testing demonstrated that in all matrices the current industry standard ELISA method overestimated results with recoveries ranging from 49.6 to 68.6 ppm.
These findings prompted the development of a new confirmatory method based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) for peanut quantification. When subjected to the same validation testing programme the HPLC-MS/MS technique was demonstrably more accurate and sensitive, with a limit of quantification of 0.3 ppm and the detected peanut concentration ranging from 6.8 to 12.8 ppm for samples doped with 10 ppm peanut.

This work is a first step in the development of a new standard method for peanut detection in complex food matrices and could ultimately inform safer manufacturing Quality & Food Safety (Q&FS) processes across global supply chains to help ensure safe food for all.

Mars GFSC Lab Food Integrity Team
The Lab Food Integrity Team at the Mars Global Food Safety Center.

Food Safety Tech: What projects are researchers at the Center working on to enhance allergen management as a whole?

Zhang: A successful allergen management program depends on rigorous control of allergenic foods and ingredients from all other products and ingredients at every step of the food production process, from raw material development to the delivery of final products. This means that for allergen management practices to be effective, they must be a shared responsibility between food manufacturers, government agencies, regulators and consumers.

At the Mars GFSC, we take a precompetitive approach to research, knowledge sharing and collaborations—this means we openly share insights and expertise to help ensure safe food for all. This is important in driving forward innovations, helping unlock solutions that may not have previously been possible.

We have shared our latest work both through an open access publication in Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A but also directly with regulatory bodies such as the FDA in the hopes of advancing knowledge in both food safety risk management and allergen management in complex flour-based media within global supply chains. In addition to this, this research contributes to a wider Food Safety Best Practice whitepaper focused on food allergen risk management currently under draft by the Mars GFSC, which will be published in collaboration with Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center and the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST) later this year.

We believe that global collaborations such as this are essential to improving food allergen management and mitigating food safety risks. Communication, training and knowledge sharing are core principles of the Mars GFSC and as such form a large part of our ongoing activities in this space. For example, we have hosted Food Allergen Management workshops in collaboration with Danone and Romer Labs focused on helping to raise awareness of current and future food allergen trends. At one such event in 2019, 100 participants from 16 food companies came together to promote food allergen management in the industry and ensure that the next generation of food integrity testing capability is relevant, practical, and directly applicable to the real-world problems experienced by manufacturers and processors throughout the supply chain.

Representatives of the Mars GFSC have also shared our insights externally at a number of international conferences as well as during a Food Enterprise Food Allergen Management Seminar on topics including effective allergen management procedures, our guiding principles for allergen managements at Mars, and shared our approach to encourage and share knowledge with other manufactures in this area.

We continue to support requests for technical insights, for example providing insights during a global consultation session on General Principles for Labeling of Prepackaged Food. This resulted in the addition of characterization requirements for possible allergenic substances, promoting the use of a recognizable naming system in ingredient lists that contain allergen warnings.

Food Safety Tech: Can you comment on additional work your team is doing in the area of food fraud?

Zhang: Food allergen risk management forms only one part of our wider food integrity focus at the Mars GFSC. We are committed to helping ensure food authenticity in an increasingly complex, global food supply chain through collaboration with global partners to develop new and improved tools and analytical methods that help protect the integrity of raw materials and finished products.

We have collaborated with researchers at Michigan State University to develop a Food Fraud Prevention Cycle roadmap (Introducing the Food Fraud Prevention Cycle (FFPC): A dynamic information management and strategic roadmap) which answered questions such as how to detect food fraud, how to start a food fraud prevention program, what to do in terms of testing, how much testing is enough, and how to measure success. Our intention in publishing this research was that the adoption of a holistic and all-encompassing information management cycle will enable a globally harmonized approach and the continued sharing of best practices across industry partners.

More recently, we completed an international collaboration tackling rice adulteration together with Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), Agilent Technologies, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA), and Zhejiang Yangtze Delta Institute of Tsinghua University (Yangtze Delta). This work successfully developed a two-tier testing program, capable of rapidly screening the geographical origins of rice within the global supply chain (Food Fingerprinting: Using a two-tiered approach to monitor and mitigate food fraud in rice). By developing a tiered system, we could ensure that manufacturers use the right techniques for the right occasion, to maximize the information available in investigating food fraud at the best value. As part of this work, we have helped develop hands-on training in Ghana and inform best practice guidance to help build the foundations of a strong food safety culture in rice authenticity across the global supply chain.

lightbulb, innovation

Record Investment in Foodtech Boosted by Changing Consumer Preferences, Sustainability Initiatives

By Food Safety Tech Staff
No Comments
lightbulb, innovation

Investment in foodtech made significant leaps forward thanks to increasing consumer demand, digitization and innovation in certain food categories. According to a report recently released from Deloitte & Touche, LLP, the value of deals made in the sector from 2020 to 2021, jumped from $6 billion to $13.1 billion, respectively. Factors driving investment in the sector include continued growth in alternative and plant-based proteins, the establishment of tech-based platforms that improve supply chain logistics and consumer experiences, and technological innovation in general.

According to Heather Gates, audit & assurance private growth leader for Deloitte, the accelerated growth in foodtech innovation is parallel with advances in agtech. “Hydroponic farming, improved fertilizers and pesticides, and robotics AI are all enabling more sustainable, steady production of produce even in urban centers, which can help augment local distribution opportunities for foodtech platforms,” she stated in the report.

The expansion of food tech is also promoting more farm-to-table options to consumers, because it streamlines distribution and delivery. As interest on the part of consumers for healthier and more convenient options continues, companies will see an increased emphasis on innovation in foodtech that incorporates sustainability and waste reduction, nutritional considerations, environmental impact, more competition in making more foods available at an affordable cost, and continued emphasis on last-mile transportation.

Read the full report, “Road to Next”, on Deloitte’s website.

Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

Putting a Classified Carcinogenic in Food Gives Everyone the Blues

By Susanne Kuehne
No Comments
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Blue corn, food fraud
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database, owned and operated by Decernis, a Food Safety Tech advertiser. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne

While blue is the most popular color around the world, not all blues are created equal and or belong into the food supply. The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed in Europe mentioned a case of unauthorized food dye Sudan Blue II in a roasted corn snack food. Sudan Blue II, also known under the name Solvent Blue 35, is used to dye oils, solvents, alcohols, esters, hydrocarbon derivatives and other industrial chemicals, and is classified as carcinogenic and harmful to humans and the environment.

Resource

  1. Malta Government. (February 21, 2022). “Environmental Health Directorate Notice”.
Emily Newton, Revolutionized Magazine
Retail Food Safety Forum

How Does Inventory Management Technology Improve Restaurants?

By Emily Newton
No Comments
Emily Newton, Revolutionized Magazine

Inventory management can be a challenge for restaurants. Stock often moves quickly, many ingredients have short shelf lives and limited storage space can make it easy to overlook some items. Manual tracking methods fall short of modern establishments’ needs, but technology offers an answer.

Inventory management software has made waves in warehousing and logistics, but the food and beverage industry can capitalize on it, too. Restaurants already recognize the need for tech adoption, with 100% of surveyed establishments increasing their urgency to adopt transformational technologies. Inventory tracking solutions should be part of that trend.

This article reviews how inventory management technology can improve restaurants.

Preventing Food Waste

One of the most important parts of inventory management is reducing waste. Up to 10% of food restaurants buy is thrown out before it ever reaches the consumer. Part of this comes from wasteful preparation practices, but much of it results from improper storage.

Inventory tracking technology addresses this issue by increasing stock visibility. In a traditional setup, restaurant employees may not be able to see what they have on hand, causing them to overlook items and leave them until they expire. Tracking technologies provide real-time data about everything in storage and consolidate it into a single, easily accessible window.

Many inventory software solutions include expiration date tracking, alerting workers when something is about to expire. They can use these technologies to find the product in question and use it before it goes bad. Trends over time can reveal if restaurants order too much of one item, driving managers to buy less to prevent waste-causing surpluses.

Avoiding Stock Shortages

Similarly, inventory management solutions can help avoid product shortages. Since the items restaurants order typically don’t go directly to the consumer, it can be difficult to understand stock levels in real-time. The visibility inventory tracking systems provide counteracts that.

Inventory software solutions can maintain real-time inventory data and alert managers when levels get low. They can then order more of a product before they run out, maintaining higher customer satisfaction. Perhaps more importantly, as restaurants use these systems over time, they can highlight seasonal trends to create more accurate forecasts.

Inventory trends will reveal how items grow and shrink in demand at various times of the year. Restaurants can then plan to order more or less of those products at different times according to those trends, avoiding shortages from under-ordering in-demand items.

Consolidating Multiple Sales Channels

Selling through multiple channels can make it more difficult to track inventory levels. Restaurants may use separate systems to manage online and in-person sales, which can lead to confusion and miscommunication.

Inventory management solutions can track online and retail sales together through a single platform. That way, restaurants have a consolidated view of all sales and history, eliminating the miscommunication that arises with traditional methods. Establishments that use a single system for all channels won’t accidentally sell out-of-stock items.

This consolidation also helps refine seasonal adjustments. Online sales trends fluctuate just as they do in person, but there may be some differences. Managers that look at seasonal trends across both channels can adjust their ordering schedules more accurately, further preventing stock shortages.

Highlighting Potential Issues

Restaurants can also use these technologies to review trends over time and highlight persistent issues. Inventory software may reveal that an establishment consistently loses one product because it passes its expiration date. This suggests that it orders too much of it at once, so it can start buying less to adapt.

Similarly, trends can reveal if something is wrong with the restaurant’s storage solution itself. Data could show if ingredients in one refrigerator consistently expire despite accurate ordering figures, suggesting the fridge fails to maintain a safe temperature. These situations are likely and deserve attention, considering that foodborne diseases cause 48 million illnesses a year, according to CDC estimates.

The longer restaurants use these technologies, the more data they’ll have, generating a growing information pool can then inform increasingly precise and reliable forecasts and mitigation strategies.

Calculating Accurate Profit Margins

Another overlooked benefit of inventory management technology is its utility as a financial planning tool. As much as 75% of restaurants struggle financially due to food costs. They may not be able to control ingredient prices, but they can manage them better with accurate inventory data.

Food prices fluctuate rapidly, leading to uneven profit margins. Restaurants that don’t have a granular picture of how their inventory moves won’t be able to calculate their profit margins accurately. Inventory management solutions provide a more granular look into stock levels and offer the context managers need for these calculations.

Inventory tracking technology allows restaurants to view stock movements weekly or even daily to compare with fluctuating prices. This specificity will help get a more accurate picture of expenses and profits.

Inventory Management Tech is Essential

Restaurants must become more financially agile to stay afloat amid widespread disruptions. Inventory management systems offer the insight and control they need to refine their processes, enabling that flexibility, and helping them adapt to incoming changes to ensure future success.

Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Food Fraud Quick Bites

The Interrupted Supply Chain Of Crocus Sativus

By Susanne Kuehne
No Comments
Susanne Kuehne, Decernis
Saffron, food fraud
Find records of fraud such as those discussed in this column and more in the Food Fraud Database, owned and operated by Decernis, a Food Safety Tech advertiser. Image credit: Susanne Kuehne.

Iran is producing the lion share of saffron, the most precious spice, worldwide. One kilogram of saffron requires weeks of backbreaking work and the manual processing of around 170,000 flowers. Smuggling of what is also called “Red Gold”, and fraudulent and counterfeit saffron, are now million-dollar endeavors, as revealed by Europol and other investigations. From illegal food dyes like lead chromate, to herbs, to corn-on-the-cob strings, saffron is adulterated in many ways to enable fraudsters a participation in this $500 million market.

Resource

  1. Milmo, C. (January 22, 2022). “Saffron: How the lustre of Iran’s ‘red gold’ is threatened by smuggling and counterfeiting as sanctions bite”. iNews.
Food Safety Consortium

Registration Open for 2022 Food Safety Consortium

By Food Safety Tech Staff
No Comments
Food Safety Consortium

EDGARTOWN, MA, March 10, 2022 – Registration for the 10th Annual Food Safety Consortium, which will take place October 19–21 at the Hilton Parsippany in New Jersey, is now open.

The program features panel discussions and breakout sessions that encourage dialogue among mid-to-senior-level food safety professionals. The event kicks off with an FDA Keynote and Town Hall, followed by a panel on the State of the Food Safety Industry and where it is going, led by Darin Detwiler of Northeastern University. Day One closes out with “You Talkin’ to Me?”, an interactive dialogue about c-suite communication, moderated by Deb Coviello, founder of Illumination Partners and host of The Drop in CEO Podcast. Other agenda highlights include:

  • Digital Transformation of Food Safety & Quality: Quality 4.0, Data Analytics and Continuous Improvement, led by Jill Hoffman, Director, Global Quality Systems and Food Safety, McCormick & Company
  • Quality Helping Improve Manufacturing Efficiency: How Does Quality Show Value to the Organization?, led by Gary Smith, Vice President, Quality Systems, 1.800.FLOWERS.COM (Harry & David)
  • What Days FSQA Folks Fear the Most, led by Shawn Stevens, founder, Food Safety Counsel, LLC
  • Product Reformulation Challenges due to Supply Chain Challenges, led by April Bishop, Senior Director of Food Safety, TreeHouse Foods
  • A Consumer-Centric Food Safety Conversation, led by Mitzi Baum, CEO, STOP Foodborne Illness
  • Employee Culture, with Melody Ge, FSQA Director, Starkist Co. and Elise Forward, Founder and Principal Consultant, Forward Food Solutions
  • FSQA’s Role in Worker Rights and Conditions, led by Trish Wester, Founder, Association for Food Safety Auditing Professionals

Registration options are available for in-person, virtual and hybrid attendance.

Event Hours

  • Wednesday, October 19: 12 pm – 6:30 pm (ET)
  • Thursday, October 20: 8 am – 5:45 pm (ET)
  • Friday, October 21: 8 am – 12 pm (ET)

Tabletop exhibits and custom sponsorship packages are available. Contact Sales Director RJ Palermo.

Food safety professionals interested in the cannabis market can attend the Cannabis Quality Conference & Expo, which begins on Monday, October 17– Wednesday, October 19. The event features three tracks: Regulations & Policy, Safety & Quality, and Business & Operations. “The CQC is a business-to-business conference and expo where cannabis industry leaders and stakeholders meet to build the future of the cannabis marketplace.”

About Food Safety Tech

Food Safety Tech is a digital media community for food industry professionals interested in food safety and quality. We inform, educate and connect food manufacturers and processors, retail & food service, food laboratories, growers, suppliers and vendors, and regulatory agencies with original, in-depth features and reports, curated industry news and user-contributed content, and live and virtual events that offer knowledge, perspectives, strategies and resources to facilitate an environment that fosters safer food for consumers.

About the Food Safety Consortium

Food companies are concerned about protecting their customers, their brands and their own company’s financial bottom line. The term “Food Protection” requires a company-wide culture that incorporates food safety, food integrity and food defense into the company’s Food Protection strategy.

The Food Safety Consortium is an educational and networking event for Food Protection that has food safety, food integrity and food defense as the foundation of the educational content of the program. With a unique focus on science, technology and compliance, the “Consortium” enables attendees to engage in conversations that are critical for advancing careers and organizations alike. Delegates visit with exhibitors to learn about cutting-edge solutions, explore three high-level educational tracks for learning valuable industry trends, and network with industry executives to find solutions to improve quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness in the evolving food industry.