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  • Writer's pictureMeyrick Consulting

Food Supply Chain Pressures are real

If I am like every other consumer, over most of my lifetime it was rare that I considered how much work goes into the supply chain process until I started working in the food and ingredients sector. I expect to pick up fresh and safe food whenever I step into a market, grocer, delicatessen, supermarket or click an online order. However, in 2021 the food supply chain is experiencing a number of extreme challenges that are causing significant concern.

Many of us are now acutely cognoscente of where our food comes from

Photo: Ian Taylor

Food miles are quite high on the agenda. I want to know how the products I eat are grown, and I also want to know if growers are being paid a fair price for their skills. Therefore, it’s dawned on many of us that traceability is extremely important. Many supermarkets now state on their packaging where fresh produce is grown and some even name farms and farmers individually. I’ve even noticed that Marks and Spencer’s tv advertising has shifted from showing us that their food is tasty to filming growers and producers at work as they get top quality food ready for the company. At least that’s the message they want to communicate. However, it’s certainly a profound shift.

Consumer peace of mind is also something we want to be able to rely on

Millennials and Gen Z shoppers care especially about the politics and environmental qualities of the food they buy. With various apps and tech that can demonstrate just what we eat and what effect its having on us, those who have the capability to shop mindfully will do this increasingly.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has suggested that more accurate traceability standards are desirable

Photo: David Todd McCarty

If food starts its journey on the other side of the globe, then we need to know who has handled it, how it was treated and stored, what capacity for tampering or fraud was available and if the food shipment was used as a cover for any other nefarious purpose.

100% compliance and governance are the aim and more brands will see this as a given

Certainly this is true in terms of their marketing and brand positioning. It takes one bad experience to unleash a volley of shots across social media and even a vicious campaign by the injured party. Word of mouth has never been so important and therefore communication between every part of the supply chain should be the norm.

Photo: Paréj Richárd

Also, with the desire for fewer preservatives and the penchant for fresher foods with short shelf lives transportation needs to be rapid. When there are delays in this important link in the chain this is where food spoilage, the growth in bacteria and food poisoning potential begins to develop.

Hold Ups, Lack of HGV drivers all contribute to supply chain pressures

The quality of refrigeration, packaging, storage and the conditions during break of bulk are all being tested in the UK right now as we face a profound shortage of HGV drivers. This is why it has been important to further develop communication logs. It is essential to know where containers are located, what the humidity readings and internal temperatures are throughout a journey, especially if a container is held up at a port, or example.

Not only is the UK coping with the effect of Brexit

But during the pandemic there has been little or no opportunity for people to take their HGV1 licenses causing a backlog and also a shortage of qualified drivers. It is obvious, therefore, that the global supply chain is experiencing a number of significant challenges in 2021. That means professional teams involved in the food and ingredients supply chain will need to be agile in their approach to the numerous considerations coming their way. I can offer help with this as recently, in term of Supply chain we have placed:

  • Operation and Supply Chain Director UK based

  • Global Chief Supply Chain Officer Belgium based

  • VP Operations and Supply Chain Switzerland

We all know the benefits of having effective supply chain leaders in the business who are able to drive higher efficiencies, improved quality control and ultimately improved cash flow. My team can help you find the exact match for your company needs. If this sounds appropriate please do arrange a no obligation and confidential call right here.


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