SAFETY: PERISHABLE UPDATE
Take these five steps to help protect
precious cargo. By Steve Simonson
ith their fragile life cycles, fresh foods create unique sup-
ply chain challenges. Foods such as fruits, vegetables and
meats need to be nurtured to ensure they remain intact
and in good quality. This includes the time that this pre-
cious cargo spends moving through the links of the supply chain—the
most critical time for all fresh foods. FRESH APPROACH: Assess your current fresh food business to
Yet many companies fail to put enough focus on their fresh food deepen your knowledge of market and consumer trends.
supply chains, resulting in inferior products and frustrated customers.
Better understanding of today’s challenges and implementing a supply fresh chain—potentially requiring different handling and transporta-
chain transformation strategy is the solution. tion practices as regional options disappear.
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE): The new U.S. administra-
Current Challenges On The Table tion may have an effect on the labor force, which is mainly immigrant.
When buying, making, moving, storing or selling fresh foods, there Pursuit of alternative energy sources: With items such as corn,
are always potential hazards due to the delicate nature of the products which is used to make ethanol, this can be a major cost driver.
and the careful handling required. Being prepared for the potential chal- But just knowing the challenges is not enough—seeking and imple-
lenges and obstacles that may occur from the time the food is produced menting the latest best practices will help your fresh food supply chain
until it reaches the final consumer can make or break a fresh food be more efficient and lucrative. In order to determine how the busi-
product. Challenges in today’s marketplace include: ness can be transformed for profitable growth, begin by conducting a
Seasonal supply and demand: Floods, droughts, wars, etc., can complete value-based assessment of your current fresh food business
create supply issues. to deepen your knowledge about market/consumer preferences and
Food sanitation: Sanitary practices start with the growers and move industry trends and strategies. To assess and transform your fresh food
through the supply chain to the consumer. supply chain, here are five steps for success.
Food security: Better traceable and effective product recall is
needed. Issues on international supply from other countries/country The Five Step Transformation Process
of origin labeling are of high concern. Step I: Determine and understand your changing consumer prefer-
Perishability: Once in the distribution system, some foods have ences. Conduct market research for your business, review the findings
shorter shelf lives and require special packaging and handling, while and translate the results into actionable choices and initiatives.
others stay fresh longer with minimal intervention.