Around the world, traceability has become the primary concern for food manufacturing and supply chain procedures. Modern consumers want to know what went into their food and how it was handled. Companies respond by improving their transparency.
The Market Research Store estimated the global food traceability market should see a compound annual growth rate of 12.28 percent between 2014 and 2022, according to Medgadget. This projected increase suggests more companies will buy new tools to capture data from daily operations and restructure manufacturing and supply chain operations.
Food manufacturers need solutions for automated data collection they can use to gain insight into their own procedures and capture information they can share with consumers. As businesses redesign production lines, supply chains and labeling practices, they need to do so in the most cost-efficient way possible, utilizing the convenience of modern technology.
What Consumers Demand
Outside of government regulations and their own commitment to quality, companies want improved traceability to appeal to modern consumers.
A recent Deloitte survey found the shoppers of today put a lot of focus on health and well-being. This has caused products like sugary sodas to decline, and creates a demand for all consumable products to bring their ingredients and manufacturing processes into the light. The survey discovered 62 percent of consumers specifically look for products that don’t contain harmful elements, and 51 percent search for clear and accurate labeling to help them make healthy choices. There is also much interest in products with a limited number of ingredients with high nutritional content.
While these health trends play a part in almost every piece of merchandise, certain food product lines change their practices more rapidly than others. Natural Products Insider said breakfast cereals, spreads, soups and sauces prioritize traceability and clean labels faster than other items. One reason is because these items already feature natural ingredients and they are happy to capitalize on the trend.
Causes for Concern
Food Manufacture, a U.K food and beverage information resource, suggested honest companies won’t face as much of a problem as businesses that try to slip ingredients like horse meat past their consumers. As long as an organization is interested in being a dependable business partner, the traceability trend should be an extension of normal practices in the modern customer-centric market.
Some products aren’t as lucky as granola-based breakfast cereals, a call for clear labels could harm products made with preservatives or sweeteners. Many manufacturers have used the growing demand for natural ingredients and simple processes to redesign their production lines and ingredients. When a company has an automated data collection solution, it can compare manufacturing and supply chain information to consumer insights to see where changes are most needed.
A growing demand for traceability is not just spurred by consumer commitment to general well-being. QSR magazine said recent stories like E.coli contamination in restaurants cause consumers to fear for disease outbreaks and dangerous products making their way to the supply chain. These well-publicized stories have created more regulatory organizations and stricter laws, so manufacturers need better visibility and smarter solutions to stay in compliance.
Manufacturing and Labeling
Improving data collection procedures to achieve end-to-end traceability streamlines manufacturing and distribution communication and provides production and warehouse management with complete oversight. If workers use mobile data collection devices, they can report real-time information from shop floors, inventory aisles and distribution vehicles. Companies can use this information for marketing or internal changes.
According to the RFgen white paper “The Food Traceability Survival Guide“, connecting all mobile data collection devices through a centralized software system helps overseers spot contaminants or other causes for concern. If business leaders, regulators or consumers do detect a problem with products, consistent data records can help the manufacturer isolate the affected merchandise and communicate solutions to the public.
The information created by automated data collection solutions help companies redesign procedures to meet consumer demands. When changes are made, the exact details captured during process realignment shows the company cares about what its customers want. Putting production and distribution information in marketing materials or on labels, places the company’s commitment to customer-centric success right at the forefront and helps the organization stay competitive in the modern world.