The pandemic that started in 2020 forced the food industry to focus on the direct-to-consumer (DTC) market like never before. Restaurant shutdowns and online grocery shopping placed DTC at the forefront of the industry. With consumers choosing many more of their food products directly, the sources of food and packaging have come under greater scrutiny. Food suppliers are working to satisfy consumer demands with transparent supply chains and recycled packaging.
DTC Food Production
Packaging food for the DTC market involves different requirements than wholesale packaging. A representative from the GS1 US, the organization that oversees food bar code standards, said food processors had to rework their production lines for the retail market. That meant packaging that listed all ingredients and nutritional information.
Food Consumers Want Supply Chain Answers
When consumers shop for food online, they need detailed product information to make decisions. Standardization of product information and traceability of food sources among all producers and packagers have become necessary to supply the data consumers want.
The food industry is in the middle of upgrading systems that will increase transparency in the food supply chain about the origins of food. To accomplish that goal, food companies have modernized systems to enable information sharing among all growers, packers, and distributors.
Packaging Materials Matter Too
Not only have producers needed to package more products for the retail market, they must contend with consumer criticism of wasteful packaging. A CBA survey showed that 59 percent of U.S. consumers want packaging to reflect sustainable values, which means plastic packaging alternatives or more recycled content. In response, Coca-Cola plans to use 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, and big brands like Nature Valley and Kraft Heinz are reworking their packaging materials.
Online DTC food shopping has become the new normal. According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, online grocery shopping nearly quadrupled during the pandemic. In 2021, Nielsen estimates that grocery sales will reach at least $94 billion.
How has the shift to more retail food distribution affected your business?
ABOUT GS1 US
GS1 Standards have been used for more than 45 years. In 1973, the grocery industry came together to agree on one way of doing business by adopting the U.P.C. barcode to drive speed and efficiency at retail check out. This cooperation marked the beginning of GS1 US® and our mission to help organizations of all sizes – ranging from large multi-national corporations to small start-up businesses – uniquely and consistently identify products, assets, shipments, and physical locations throughout the global supply chain while also enabling trading partners to exchange information critical to their businesses.
Today, the beep of a barcode is heard over 6 billion times per day and GS1 Standards are the most widely used system of standards in the world. More than 300,000 businesses in 25 industries are members of GS1 US, including organizations in the apparel, general merchandise, grocery retail, foodservice, and healthcare industries.
ABOUT Coca Cola
The product that has given the world its best-known taste was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886. Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a local pharmacist, produced the syrup for Coca-Cola, and carried a jug of the new product down the street to Jacobs’ Pharmacy, where it was sampled, pronounced “excellent” and placed on sale for five cents a glass as a soda fountain drink. Carbonated water was teamed with the new syrup to produce a drink that was at once “Delicious and Refreshing,” a theme that continues to echo today wherever Coca-Cola is enjoyed.
Thinking that “the two Cs would look well in advertising,” Dr. Pemberton’s partner and bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, suggested the name and penned the now famous trademark “Coca-Cola” in his unique script.
Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet.
ABOUT Nature Valley
Nature Valley was established in 1973 with the introduction of granola cereal. There was just one problem: it wasn’t designed to be eaten outside. So we got to work creating the world’s first-ever granola bar.
50 years later we don’t just offer one granola bar. We offer a full line of bars, snacks, and granola available on-the-go to inspire people to connect with nature. Because we don’t take the “nature” in our name lightly.
In 2019 we began providing financial support to help farmers adopt regenerative agriculture practices in regions that supply our oats – and we continue to support eight oat farmers on their regenerative agriculture journey today. Why? Because we believe in preserving and protecting the land we live on.
About Kraft Heinz
The Kraft Heinz Company is the third-largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world, with eight $1 billion+ brands. A globally trusted producer of delicious foods, The Kraft Heinz Company provides high quality, great taste and nutrition for all eating occasions whether at home, in restaurants or on the go.
We are writing the next chapter of our history at Kraft Heinz. Just as a compass provides guidance and clarity, together our Purpose, Vision, Values, and Leadership Principles chart our collective course. They set and establish our new direction, serving as a “north star” for the Company. Consumers are at the center of everything we do – from the quality of our world-class iconic brands to our commitment to the communities where we live, work, and do business. They remind our employees, individually and as a team, why the work we do each day matters.
Hacking Plants To Increase Food Yields
Scientific advancements continue to identify problems and offer solutions that could increase crop yields as climate change alters global agricultural environments. Recent insights about plant metabolism, heat-resistant plant genetics, and the role of insect pollinators can help farmers improve or maintain yields in the future.
Understanding Plant Metabolism
A study managed by the University of Melbourne in Australia has identified superoxide as the botanical molecule that regulates plant metabolic activity. At sundown, superoxide tells plants that the evening has come. The information tells the plant to conserve energy through the night and prepare for a new day of plant sugar production. These findings could lead to growing methods that work in conjunction with the daily rhythms of plants and thereby increase yields.
Improving Plant Heat Resistance
CO2 pollution has altered the composition of the atmosphere and triggered higher global temperatures. Scientists in Illinois hope to adapt to the higher temperatures that stress plants by detecting it early. They are working with satellite imaging tools to measure chlorophyll fluorescence on large fields. Fluorescence changes provide an early warning for plant stress. Advance notice of an emerging problem could allow farmers to take protective actions.
Genetic scientists also search for heat-resistant genes in wild plants. Such genes can build enzymes necessary for plant growth at higher temperatures. The aim of this research is to genetically engineer domestic crop species with wild heat-resistant genes so that they can remain productive in hotter conditions.
Promoting Insect Pollinator Diversity
Plants exist within an ecosystem, and their success does not depend entirely on their genes. Pollinator insects are necessary to ensure production in 75 percent of major crops. Studies of wild pollinator populations in six continents indicate that plants thrive when multiple pollinator species service them instead of a single species. Wild areas adjacent to fields provide habitat for multiple wild insects. Crops with access to many insect pollinators have higher and more consistent yields from year to year.
What experiences have you had with genetically engineered crops? Have these scientific advances increased your yields?
ABOUT University of Melbourne
Our distinctive Melbourne experience helps graduates become well-rounded, thoughtful and skilled professionals – making a positive impact across the globe. Our research helps solve social, economic and environmental challenges the world is facing today and into the future. We’re tightly connected with our communities, at home and around the globe – a connection that enriches our learning, teaching and research.
The Melbourne Model is a distinctive curriculum that gives students a wider understanding of the world beyond their degree. Equipped with a breadth and depth of knowledge, Melbourne graduates are flexible, adaptable and ready for any future.
3D Bioprinting Serves Up Meat Alternatives
Food entrepreneurs see a promising future in man-made meats that they market as more sustainable protein alternatives to animal-harvested meats. The startups Redefine Meat, Aleph Farms, and Novameat are among the new laboratory ranchers seeking to culture meats that replicate the taste and texture of the real food. They have adapted 3D printing technology used in the manufacture of durable goods for use with biological food inputs to build slabs of protein with the appearance of steaks.
Mostly Plant Ingredients
Most man-made meat innovators base their products’ appeal on the absence of animal proteins. Heightened awareness among consumers about environmental problems caused by some forms of animal agriculture along with an ethical desire to avoid consumption of animal proteins has strengthened demand for plant-based, meat-like foods. To satisfy these principles, Redefine Meat out of Israel loads 3D printers with blends of soybean and pea protein, sunflower oil, and coconut fat. Similarly, Novameat in Spain prints its food product from a mixture of water, vegetable fat, and various plant proteins.
Aleph Farms takes another approach. The company incorporates living animal cells into its ingredients before 3D printing slabs of whole-muscle cuts. The company promotes its ribeye steak as “slaughter free.” Its process builds a framework of living cells, which are then incubated and grown. As they grow, machines inject them with additional nutrients.
Meat Printing At Restaurants
At Novameat, the company has a long-term plan to sell the machines that 3D print meat. Within the year, the company could have customizable 3D bioprinters ready for market. The intended customers would be food processors and even restaurants. In the future, diners would conceivably order their meat that was printed that day at the restaurant location.
Let us know if you have eaten any lab-grown meat alternatives. Do you expect man-made meat to remain a niche market or overtake live animal protein production?
ABOUT Redefine Meat
The global market for meat alternatives is the fastest growing segment of the food industry and is expected to reach $140 billion annually by 2030. While there is a new wave of alternative meat products, the food industry relies on analog technologies to develop and produce them. The pace of innovation and the rate of the adoption pales in comparison to the rapidly growing demand for better products.
Redefine Meat is on a mission to introduce a technological platform to develop, launch and scale the next generation of Alt-Meat. Redefine Meat is applying proprietary 3D printing technology, meat digital modeling, and advanced food formulations to produce animal-free meat with the appearance, texture and flavor of whole muscle meat.
ABOUT Aleph Farms
Aleph Farms is a food company that was co-founded with the food-tech incubator, The Kitchen Hub, and Prof. Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion Institute of Technology, Israel. We’re paving a new way forward in the field of cultivated meat, growing delicious, real beef steaks from the cells of cows, eliminating the need for slaughtering animals or harming the environment.
Aspiring to shift the paradigm of meat production and consumption on a global scale and recognizing the depth of our responsibility to the world beyond our table. Expertly crafting delicious, high-quality steak that mirror the culinary, sensory and nutritional qualities of the steak we love.
Novameat is the world’s first developer of plant-based micro-extruded fibrous meat. Plant-based meat reinvented. Nova Meat’s bioprinting-based tech gives planted-based meat manufacturers a wider array of tools to create different textures from a wide variety of ingredients, to mimic all types of meat and seafood.
This technology is able to use bioprinting strategies and adapt them to generate a meat substitute. The products that are in the market are either burgers that are plant-based but taste like real meat, or soy-based substitutes that have the texture of an actual fibrous piece of meat, but not the taste.
The idea of Novameat is to try to join forces between the texture and the taste, so that we have a product that is a piece of fibrous meat that tastes like a real beefsteak.
AI Poised To Control Food Waste And Safety Problems
Sitting down to dinner is a simple daily pleasure, but the food on every plate owes its existence to a complex web of producers, processors, distributors, and retailers. The system struggles with persistent problems related to food waste, food sanitation, and foodservice labor shortages. To solve these vexing problems, food industry entrepreneurs have called upon the computing power of the 21st century. New products that employ artificial intelligence are entering the market in all areas of the food industry.
Fixing Fresh Food Waste
Grocers strive to meet customer demand for fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding disposal of produce left on shelves. An AI-powered product from the startup Afresh Technologies aims to replace the guesswork in fresh food ordering with recommendations based on previous sales and other data trends. Data analytics enable precise ordering that meets customer demand while reducing the time that food spends on shelves. Grocers using the system achieve up to 50% reduction in food waste.
Food Safety Compliance
The startup FoodDocs has launched a digital food safety specialist meant to alleviate confusion about food safety regulations around the world. The FoodDocs system uses AI to analyze a food business’s operation and highlight how to apply applicable regulations to daily activities. In this way, FoodDocs makes it easier for businesses to recognize and follow regulations instead of struggling through complicated regulatory codes without guidance. So far, over 8,000 users in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and the U.S. have used FoodDocs.
Food Preparation Automation
Rising labor costs or the lack of available labor strain the restaurant industry. Blendid, a food automation startup, is developing robotic food assemblers and cookers powered by AI to provide 24-hour labor in retail food operations.
Do you agree that AI can substantially improve efficiency and safety in the food industry? Comment with your thoughts.
ABOUT Afresh Technologies
Rigid perpetual inventory might work in a perfect world—but reality is much messier. Our Intelligent Inventory feature uses AI to predict what’s in store and uses that to place the perfect order and save employees time.
Grocers across the United States use Afresh to order billions of pounds of food per year. Our system’s accuracy generates game-changing results that are good for business, communities, and the planet.Our customers see a significant average cost savings every year thanks to more accurate ordering. More accurate inventory and ordering translates to less food wasted.
Scorecards and other reporting tools make it easy to track Afresh’s performance and store teams’ usage for stakeholders in-store and at corporate headquarters.
FoodDocs helps to create and maintain food safety management systems for all companies and institutions who serve or sell food. From small producers to big hotels, from burger trucks, bakeries, ghost kitchens and snack bars to schools, hospitals, shops and beyond!
Get your HACCP plan in less than 2 hours. Answer simple questions and watch our AI compile the food safety documents you need to submit to your local authority.
Reduce human errors and apply uniform food safety standards across all business units of your company. Use our simple built-in tool to customize the entire HACCP plan to suit the specifics of your business.
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