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3 big pressures facing modern food suppliers

The food industry exists in a constant state of flux. Suppliers must adapt to survive – bending to changing rules on food safety, changing consumer trends and changing retailer demands. As 2015 races out of the blocks, we have identified three of the biggest challenges currently facing food suppliers.

This post is a part of a series on improving food safety among suppliers. The series is based on our white paper on the same topic, which you can currently download for free.

 1. Crystal clear food provenance

Two years ago millions of consumers found out that they had unknowingly been chowing down on horse meat. Unsurprisingly that made a lot of people unhappy. A nation’s collective eyebrow was raised in the direction of food suppliers, food retailers and murky supply chains.

Provenance used to be the preserve of pretty high-level foodies. Now, partly because of the horsemeat scandal, consumers en masse are far more tuned in to issues surrounding the origins of their food. In simple terms: you need to be able to vouch for the integrity of your supply chains.

Do you know where you source your ingredients from? Do you know where your suppliers source their raw ingredients from? Can you plot the path from farm to fork? Consumer whims will always ebb and flow, but raised alertness to food provenance is a trend that’s likely to have considerable staying power.

2. Continuous temperature monitoring and transparent record-keeping

As retailers are forced to measure up to increasingly stringent food safety regulations and consumer expectations, so they will look to their suppliers to do the same. As a food supplier you can expect increasing scrutiny surrounding how you store your produce and transport it to your retailer.

You may find retailers insisting on automated temperature monitoring that alerts you if your storage falls outside a pre-defined range (if it is applicable to the type of food you produce). Another fast-developing trend – born from how easy it is to forge paper records – is for safety checks to be recorded electronically with time seals.

Acquiring the necessary technology will show potential retailers that you mean business when it comes to food safety. Other measures include securing relevant industry accreditations and demonstrating well-considered policies for staff training and retention.

2. Regular – really regular – supply of produce

One of the biggest changes in the food industry over the last twenty years is the culture of expectancy among consumers. They want fresh food, on demand, seven-days-a-week. As retailers attempt to meet ever-growing consumer demands they will look for flexible suppliers who are capable of delivering produce off-peak. Seven-day-a-week culture, even in the UK’s smallest cities, is the new normal and retailers can smell the opportunity for potential for profits.

Artisanal producers will always be in demand. But if your product is more general, do you have what it takes to service the growing demand for convenience?

Keep your business at its best with clear insight on food safety control, food safety techniques and the future of the industry. Our white paper is free to download now.

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