Challenges remain for food supply chain and traceability

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The panel talked about the issues of traceability, trust and compliance.
The panel talked about the issues of traceability, trust and compliance.

Related tags: Supply chain

Alternating supply chains and the substitution of raw materials will continue to create challenges for the food supply chain.

This was the message during a Food Manufacture webinar called Championing Food Chain Traceability, Trust and Compliance. 

Adrian Regan, head of professional services at Aptean, which sponsored the webinar said: “As we move to alternate supply chains and substitution of raw materials or raw materials just not available obviously traceability and the speed of traceability and mitigating issues within the supply chain in terms of food safety become more important​.” 

He highlighted that locking down the supply chain quickly should something go wrong and helping to prevent food fraud were crucial. 

“In terms of the supply chain itself from a manufacturing perspective we still have a duty of care to protect the integrity of our supply chain,”​ he said. 

Aspiring for high standards

“From a food safety culture perspective we are aspiring to very high standards in the UK in terms of BRC and GFSI and in terms of food safety and integrity.”

He also highlighted the importance and benefits of having a digital system to help with the integrity of the supply chain. 

“We have seen that those companies that have already stepped up to digital transformation to streamline, connect operations and boost efficiency are far more likely to track and trace any products at any stage in the value chain,” ​he added. 

Liz Ward, senior director, supplier quality EMEA at McCormick & Company pointed out that it was important that there is a culture within the company of having a trust in quality and food safety. 

“It is through this shared ownership we can amplify the voice of quality throughout our complex supply chain and ensure traceabiity, trust and compliance in everything we do, make and say,”​ Ward added. 

“Consumers want more information on supply chain transparency and we are seeing an explosion of tools and services embracing digital technology to meet this need."​ 

Net zero

Meanwhile, Ben Dodridge head of technical at Tesco Central Europe highlighted the challenges of traceability and sustainability in the context of net zero position. 

“We are going to have to be able to understand our supply chain end-to-end and by end to end I mean we really need to understand exactly what we are buying, where we are buying it from, how much and allow those producers or growers at farm level to help provide some of that sustainability data,” ​he said.  

“Without it fundamentally we can’t get to a place where we can measure our impact on the environment and we can’t therefore come up with a plan to offset that, to work on reduction plans and all the innovative stuff that we want to do.”

He says once that has been finalised then technology can be used to measure at that grower and farm level. 

However, food safety and quality consultant at Wyvern Solutions Andy Kerridge said that technology should be used to look at “easing the burden”​ for auditors, who spend too much time on paperwork.

Ukraine and the supply chain

He also raised concern about ingredients in the supply chain such as products in warehouses in Ukraine.  

“If it eventually gets out has it been kept in the correct conditions,”​ he said. 

He also raised the issue of substitution of products in the current climate which can raise issues with allergens. 

 He said: “Pressure on the countries that are going to suffer shortages of supply. Ukraine doesn’t supply much if anything into the UK but it does supply markets which are then supplying the UK.”

“There is all sort of ramifications from these current events.”

You can listen to the webinar by clicking here​.

Related topics: Supply Chain, Environment

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