New Tech Puts Food Companies in the Business of Prevention

By Anna Johansson April 13, 2017

For many years, businesses have taken the stance of responding to issues as they emerge. But with new advancements in technology, it’s becoming clear that the best approach is to prevent them from even happening in the first place, a switch from reactive to proactive.

Advanced Tech in the Business World

In developed countries, we have so much advanced technology that we essentially have the luxury of playing defense instead of offense. In other words, we react to issues instead of preventing them in the first place.

Thankfully, not every business is taking this stance. Some food companies would prefer to build a strong foundation by adopting a preventative approach to business – and they’re using advanced technology to make it happen.

1. Traceability Software Prevents Food Recalls

“When it comes to traceability and food recalls, most of the attention is given to quick response times and the ability to effortlessly trace ingredients and product at the lot level to find out which items and SKUs need to be pulled from shelves,” explains Katy Jones, CMO of FoodLogiQ. “And while this is imperative – quick and accurate recalls are a must-have – there needs to be more attention on reducing food recalls in the first place.”

As many companies are discovering, the answer to this challenge is specialized software. Food traceability software allows businesses to gain total visibility of their supply chains from farm to fork. This eliminates much of the guessing game that’s typically associated with identifying issues and allows companies to quickly recognize when something goes wrong. As food traceability software continues to grow in popularity, the industry is becoming more and more transparent for consumers.

2. Automation Leads to Better Food Security

Food security has been an issue for centuries and still is today. How can the food industry work together with governments and private organizations to prevent shortages and ensure everyone, everywhere has access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food? Furthermore, how can companies prevent slave labor practices in the supply chain?

While great strides have been made thus far in the twenty-first century, the expectation is that more can be done. Moving forward, automated technology will play a significant role in better global food security.

One of the best examples of automation in relation to food production involves a new “vegetable factory” that’s supposed to open in Kyoto, Japan later this year. It will be the first farm with no human farmers. Instead, robots will plant lettuce seeds, transplant, and raise the vegetables, before carrying them off to a packing line where they’ll be sent off to local supermarkets. The hope is that the robotic farm will harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce every single day. Not only does this create a supply chain that’s guaranteed to operate independently of poor labor practices, but it could also prevent the risk of shortages for certain foods.

3. Mobile Apps Protect the Public

How many times have you been in the kitchen and heard someone say something like, “Do you think this is still good?” Most people respond by saying, “I don’t know…smell it.” As you know, the smell test isn’t a good indicator of whether or not food is safe to eat. The problem is that the general public doesn’t always know that. As such, they end up eating food that’s expired or spoiled, leading to preventable illnesses.

This is exactly why the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, in conjunction with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, have created the FoodKeeper App. The app helps the general public understand food and beverage storage so that they can maximize freshness and avoid eating items that are likely spoiled. This is just one of a handful of new apps aimed at prevention.

New Technology Puts You in Control

For businesses that want to stop playing defense and start developing an offensive game plan, advanced technology is the answer. You can see how companies are using things like traceability software, food security automation, and mobile apps – what can you leverage? 




Edited by Alicia Young
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