Ensuring that consumers have access to a variety of fresh food items is the foodservice industry’s number one priority. Unfortunately, when the food supply chain is affected – by natural disaster, global pandemic, or economic downturn, for example – suppliers can have difficulty keeping up with increasing consumer demand, which can result in food spoilage and waste.
Cold and frozen food items need to be kept at optimal temperatures to ensure freshness once they are in the hands of the consumer, but obstacles can inevitably arise and disrupt the quality of your food items. You may not have the power to prevent shipping delays or missing items from orders, but you can stay ahead of the curve by knowing which issues to anticipate and how to act accordingly.
Here’s how to stay ahead of food spoilage challenges in a market that demands freshness.
Communicate With Your Suppliers
If you haven’t already established an open line of communication with your suppliers, now is the best time to start. Communication is key when running a business so that in the event of a supply chain disruption, you can immediately pinpoint the issue and get back on track.
We suggest designating a primary point of contact with each food supplier. This person will be able to keep you informed of any concerns that may arise within the entire food supply chain. Acquiring pertinent information in advance will bring focus to areas where improvement or adjustment is needed, thus positioning your organization to weather any storm.
Create a Food Supplier Network
Whether you already have a list of suppliers or are in the process of building one, take the time to conduct research on multiple companies and determine whether their core values align with your own. Low rates can equate to low-quality food-handling practices that you will pay for in the future.
In the event that a current supplier becomes overwhelmed and unable to supply the level of service you are accustomed to, make sure you have more than one backup supplier. Always keep your options open by having a vast network of reliable suppliers in case something goes wrong with your current plan.
Maximize Freshness of Food Items
Once food items have been delivered to your store, you are responsible for what happens next. Cold and frozen foods will spoil if not properly refrigerated, and inadequate cooling appliances in your store can further impair their overall character. Improperly cared for foods lead to more waste and less profit, so efficient freezer and refrigeration units are vital to maximizing your sales.
Excellence Industries can help you examine the efficiency of your current coolers and freezers to determine whether they are equipped to extend the shelf life and maintain the freshness of the food items on display.
Take Advantage of Technology
Thankfully, innovations in technology have made it possible to track food items from the farm to the store. Digital supply chain tracking tools such as the Internet of Things (IOT) keep record of the temperature and condition of food items. Technology has found a way to provide peace of mind in the cold food supply chain space and will continue to simplify the process.
Blockchain technology, especially, is responsible for increasing efficiency in the food supply chain. Blockchain collects data that is then used to make informed analyses and adjustments to the process, such as identifying contaminated food items and removing them from production. In fact, leading research and advisory company Gartner predicts 20% of the top 10 grocers will use blockchain technology by 2025 to ensure food safety and traceability.
Here at Excellence Industries, we understand the obstacles your foodservice business may face when coping with food supply chain breakdowns. Contact us to learn more about how our commercial refrigeration units can help you stay ahead of the game!