It's hard to think of an industry more in need of smart processes than food service. There are all sorts of problems, from animal welfare to safe transportation, that stand to affect food supply chains specifically. The company behind the popular fast-casual Mexican food restaurant chain Chipotle recently announced its own plan to enforce better handling of its chickens within the next 7 years.
In a statement, Chipotle Mexican Grill outlined four specific goals, all of which could also apply to other busy chains looking to modernize while still staying humane. These goals include better breeding, stocking density space, living conditions and slaughter practices.
Although the statement gave limited details about each goal, it did mention Chipotle's partnership with multiple advocacy groups. One of these is Compassion In World Farming USA, and the organization's Executive Director, Leah Garces, commended the business for taking even these steps.
"Chipotle is continuing to walk the talk on animal welfare. We applaud the company and their chicken suppliers for leading the way in a commitment that will improve the lives of more farmed animals than any other food business to date."
Managing food waste
Another issue for food manufacturers is loss within the supply chain. As Supply Chain Dive noted, increasing complexity also adds several points for disruption and loss. Part of this may also be due to the different kinds of markets suppliers have to work with. The changes and conditions can force companies to deal with new distribution methods for the business. Farmers also can work in their own ways depending on the region.
This source also referenced ideas from the Forum for the Future to develop better food loss prevention tactics. That organization announced a plan last year to bring the amount of waste generated by food supply chains down to zero.
Part of this involves a map of innovation points set to drive the industry to more efficiency. The Forum claimed that this would be the first map of its kind, made for a global audience using the resources of the internet. Supply vehicles may have to greatly reduce their emissions levels while still moving quickly enough to make shipments and meet demand.
Fraud and theft
Fraud and theft are two different issues, but both involve targeting the contents of a shipment and could come from inside actors. Earlier this month, Global Trade Magazine wrote about some of the examples of fraud: a person could deliberately alter a shipment to harm consumers, or switch out one type of produce for another for monetary gain. Countering this could require companies to go granular, looking closely at the issues affecting each item in transit and how to keep them in their best possible shape.
Compared to this, theft may be a more long-term problem. The 2016 Q3 Cargo Theft Report from Freightwatch International found that the overall amount of thefts grew by 14 percent from the previous quarter, according to CCJ Digital. Food and drinks products made up 17 percent of the 193 thefts seen during this time.
As signs of the importance of broader supply chain solutions, these trends could be more evidence of the importance of global sourcing procedures.