Food Focus: Current Events & Trends in the Food Industry
COVID-19’s Impact on the Food Industry
During these uncertain times one thing is for sure – the food industry is being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. But, adding to the uncertainty is wondering how exactly the industry is being impacted, how long the impacts will last, when things will go back to normal, and if there will be a new normal when that time comes. While no one can predict the future, we’ve rounded up the latest on how COVID-19 is impacting the food industry and the lasting impacts the experts are expecting.
The Current COVID-19 Consumer Effects
As a food manufacturer, whether you distribute to grocery stores, food service establishments, or direct to consumer, you’re supplying based on your consumers demands. In a perfect world, you’d be able to predict your consumer’s demand but with a pandemic going on, the world is far from perfect and consumer demand hasn’t exactly been predictable. And, where demand can now be predicted, your supply chain has become less dependable.
Changes in Consumer Behavior/Demand
- With people making more meals at home, the demand for flour, bread, buns, rolls, and pasta has spiked as home baking has increased, consumers are making sandwiches as a daily meal, and consumers choose pasta for its extended shelf-life to stockpile as they stay at home.
- Products formulated to boost immunity are in high demand.
- Consumers are less concerned about taking sustainability issues into account when purchasing food and are more focused on safety and cost…Read more
The Food Manufacturer’s Guide to Handling the Coronavirus
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt families, healthcare, the economy, and more, the food industry is not exempt from feeling its effects. While the food industry is essential to our daily lives, and has been deemed as such, it is not “business as usual” within the supply chain. From trade shows being cancelled and thus interfering with new product launches and exposure to restaurants being limited to take out and delivery orders or even shutting down completely thus decreasing the demand for food manufacturers that deliver to the food service sector to shifting consumer behavior as consumers rely on food and beverages that are comforting and familiar as well as shelf-stable foods while simultaneously becoming unpredictable in their buying habits as they hoard toilet paper and bottled water to imports and exports being disrupted, business is anything but “usual” for food manufacturers. And, while all of these new variables are disruptive, they don’t even include the biggest threat of all: the health and safety of your employees. So, what can you do to adjust to these ever-growing concerns and abnormalities? We’ve rounded up the top three tips to stay strong and keep succeeding amid this unprecedented time.
1. Increase Safety Measures
The first step is to do your part in ensuring the health and safety of your employees. It’s probably obvious that allowing office-based staff to work from home and prohibiting non-essential travel top the list – but have you considered increasing the requirements to come into your facility beyond just your employees, such as vendors and visitors who may have a legitimate business reason to visit?..Read more
What Does “Sustainable” Really Mean for Food Manufacturers?
(Among other food manufacturing trends)
Sustainability is among one of the major trends currently impacting the food industry but what does it mean for you as a food manufacturer?
Here’s the thing, sustainable food isn’t only about the food – it also pertains to how the food is produced, distributed, packaged and consumed. That means, for food to be “sustainable,” it must come from a supply chain with sustainable farming practices, with a low environmental impact, where animal welfare was upheld, that protects public health and that involves good employment practices and community support.
Where This Trend Is Coming From
With 66% of consumers happy to spend more money on products and brands that are committed to environmentally friendly practices and 73% of global Millennials willing to pay more for sustainable products, consumer demand for sustainable food is continuing to rise. Just as every trend starts somewhere and builds momentum with more and more buy-in from various key players, the sustainable food trend was born out of necessity and has grown with the commitment of governments and various organizations…Read more
Three Food Safety Tips You May Not Have Heard
Food safety is of the utmost importance to food manufacturers. And yet, each year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 48 million people in the United States get sick from contaminated food. So, how do you avoid being part of the statistic? Here are three food safety tips you may not have heard
1. Protect From The Ground Up
Everything affects food safety in a food manufacturing facility, and your floor is no exception. In fact, “the use of fluid-applied resinous flooring can help ease the burden on several fronts by enhancing sanitation efficiency [and] supporting contamination control protocols.” Example? Glad you asked! By choosing a smooth, non-porous surface free of grout lines, you can avoid the potential contamination risk seams and joints pose by being optimal breeding ground (no pun intended) for microbes. Plus, they’re really hard – perhaps even impossible – to clean and sanitize to the necessary standards for food safety…Read more
How Do I Manage Food Allergies Within Food Processing?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, peanut allergies in children have increased by 21% since 2010. Additionally, eight foods are the cause of 90% of allergic reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Because of these growing allergies, food manufacturers face the ever-growing challenge of properly preparing and labeling their food products. In fact, poor and inaccurate labeling causes nut-allergic people to take 40% longer to shop and undeclared allergens were the leading cause of recalls in 2012. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that food allergies are a growing public health concern that food processors must act on. So, how do you manage food allergies within food processing? Other than standardized labeling and verifying the cleanliness of processing lines after products containing allergens are handles, you manage food allergies within food processing with the following three techniques.
1. Supply Chain Control
In order to accurately assess the risk of your product, you must have the correct raw material information… Read more
The Current State (Or Plate) Of Food – Fast Facts
The food industry is constantly changing and to be successful in the food manufacturing industry, you have to stay abreast of the trends. To help with that, here is your cheat sheet of fast facts as to the current state (or plate) of food.
- Consumers are currently looking for what foods can do for them – food that can help them perform, stay awake, get smarter, etc. Proteins, antioxidants, superfoods, probiotics, prebiotics, and more are part of this trend.
- Plant-based foods are on the rise as consumers who say they eat meat has dropped 16% since 2014.
- Eggs, ahi tuna, carne asada, applewood smoked bacon, and brisket are among the fastest growing proteins on restaurant menus.
- Consumers now care more about natural ingredients and clean labels than brand recognition when purchasing food products…Read more
Sustainability & Food Packaging – What Food Manufacturers Need to Know
As the demand for sustainability continues to grow in the food industry, it’s no surprise that it has now expanded into food packaging. In fact, according to the Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers will pay more for products from sustainable brands and 73% will actually pay more for sustainable products – and food packaging is no exception.
What does this mean for you as a food manufacturer?
While consumers are becoming more health conscious, their desire to be environmentally-friendly has grown, too. For consumers, this means seeking out healthier food options in sustainable packaging. But what does it mean for you as a food manufacturer?…Read more
Capitalizing on the Organic Food Trend (With An ERP System for Food Manufacturers)
The Organic Food Trend
Do you produce organic fruits and/or vegetables? Do you want to capitalize on the monetary benefits of this ever-growing consumer trend? With the trend towards organic continuing to grow and with strict USDA standards as to being certified organic, food traceability is a must to not lose out on the monetary benefits of capitalizing on a trend that’s here to stay.
With USDA’s definition of organic agriculture, organic crop producers must use practices aimed at maintaining or improving the physical, chemical, and biological condition of soil, minimizing soil erosion, and accommodating an animal’s natural nutritional and behavioral requirements, thus increasing organic farm production costs. As of 2002, the national organic standard set by USDA requires organic farmers, processors and handlers to be certified by a state or private organization accredited by USDA…Read more
Consumer Food Trends: Leverage These Trends into an Upward Growth Trend for Your Business
How do you stay relevant in a food industry where the consumer demand is constantly shifting regarding what it is they’re demanding? You stay on trend while staying within your niche. To help you stay on trend, here are six of the most recent food trends you can leverage into a growth trend for your business:
The Plant-Based Plan
Within the past year, U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods increased 17%. When it comes to claiming the plant-based diet as a trend, enough said. But, in case you’re not yet convinced, here are some more enlightening facts: in the past year U.S. sales of plant-based meat alternatives were up 23%, plant-based creamers were up 62%, plant-based yogurts were up 54%, plant-based cheeses were up 41% and plant-based ice creams were up 40%…Read more
The Food Safety Modernization Act and You (and Your ERP Software)
The Food Safety Modernization Act
Did you know the there are new rules to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) being implemented this year and next? If not, don’t worry – we’re here to keep you informed. If so, we’re still here to help you comply with the new standards.
Although the FSMA was signed into law back in 2011, some of its rules went into effect last year with more to come this year for small farms and food handling facilities.
The two newer rules are the produce rule and the preventative controls rule. The produce rule applies to businesses that grow or otherwise handle fruits or vegetables before they are sold to consumers. To comply with this rule, you must keep specific records about how your food products are grown and handled and then make those records available to the FDA…Read more
5 Ways To Reduce Food Waste and Increase Profits in Food Manufacturing
In the US, food and beverage manufacturing accounts for $126 billion of the economy. While that’s a massive number, getting a piece of these profits can be massively difficult. So, what can food manufacturers do boost their profits? Reduce waste. And how can food manufacturers reduce waste? With the following five methods.
1. Package For a Longer Lifespan
By choosing packaging that can help increase the lifespan of your product, you can reduce the amount of product wasted. Some packaging options available to you are modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), skin pack, and controlled atmosphere packaging (CAP). MAP prolongs the shelf life of the product by minimizing the potential microbial growth through displacing regular air for low-oxygen gases. Skin pack also prolongs the shelf-life of poultry by using vacuum packing to seal the meat. Finally, CAP prolongs storage times of products with the addition of oxygen absorbers to regulate the temperature and humidity of a product. While each of these packaging methods is a bit different than the last, they all reduce the possibility of spoiled product…Read More
Hurricanes & Freight:
How Natural Disasters Affect Freight Costs & The Food Industry
As the effects of Hurricanes Florence and Michael are still being felt, their reach goes beyond the local area as they leave consequences felt across the country in their wake. While Credit Suisse research analyst Robert Moskow reports natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence tend to have a net positive effect on processed foods companies’ sales trends due to consumers stocking up on supplies, distribution costs tend to increase as food processors must scramble amidst a tight supply environment to get truck drivers. Therefore, Florence and Michael could cause spot prices for freight to spike and could shape contract rates for next year.
These increased rates are due to increased fuel prices, fewer trucks on the road, damaged infrastructures, reallocated resources to respond to the emergency at hand, and an overall low supply and high demand. Just last year we saw these consequences after Hurricane Harvey hit and affected nearly 10% of the entire US trucking industry while also increasing gas prices nationwide by 15%+ due to its destruction of some of the major petroleum production bases. With Hurricane Florence, we saw devastation along the mid-Atlantic coast due to shut down ports, railroads, and interstate highways. And, with Hurricane Michael, we experienced blocked and closed roads along the Florida Panhandle and the shut down of some logistics facilities directly in its path…Read More
Food Tariffs and Effects:
Why Saving Money Is More Important Than Ever For Food Manufacturers And How Your ERP Software Can Help
Are you concerned about the food tariffs being placed on various items? Will your company be affected? Are you at a loss for what to do? If so, you’re not alone as 1.6 million people work in the targeted industries with three-quarters of those affected in farming, fishing and food-related manufacturing. In July, the Trump administration proposed a 10% duty on a wide range of imports from China. These tariffs could increase to 25% and if they do hit American-caught or raised seafood that’s being processed in China, profits for fisheries and aquaculture operations will most likely plummet. For Pacific Northwest seafood being imported to China, this added cost is no longer a matter of “if” as Beijing responded to the Trump administration’s move to implement extra levies on Chinese goods with a 25% tariff of their own on Pacific Northwest seafood, including Alaskan fish. The Chinese response didn’t just include seafood, they also imposed tariffs on multiple agricultural products including specific fruits, vegetables, grains and more ranging from 15-25%. But new tariffs aren’t only coming from China. In response to the U.S. imposition of steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports worldwide, Canada, the EU, Mexico and Turkey imposed tariffs on a variety of U.S. goods including food products such as cucumbers, corn, cranberries, apples and other fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. With the added costs these tariffs bring, food manufacturers can’t afford to waste time, money, or resources…Read More