If the prediction from a recent Nielsen report that up to 70 percent of groceries in the U.S. will be purchased online by 2023 doesn’t ring alarm bells, the growing presence of Amazon and others in the sector should at least indicate that a sea change is under way. Traditional food service distribution faces one of its biggest challenges to date with the emergence of global, digitally driven competitors poised to cannibalize the sector. Independent food service distributors must act quickly to remain competitive by exploring the benefits of a data-driven distribution model. Thankfully, the digital transformation journey is less complex than many challenges the sector has conquered to date.
A look at the top food service trends for the year ahead reveals the resilience of the industry in the face of economic or political uncertainty. Faithful to the principles of the so-called “lipstick effect,” consumers might be prepared to tighten the belt in some areas, but remain reluctant to sacrifice simple pleasures. In fact, dining out grew globally at 5.6% in 2017, and will continue to do so as markets in Asia and the Middle East join mature markets in Europe and North America.
In the search to create menus that convert, food service operators know that the “farm to fork” narrative resonates well with customers, meaning a large proportion of the budget is allocated to higher-value proteins and fresh produce. But for their specialist suppliers, dependent on a limited number of product lines, lack of diversity leaves profit margins dangerously exposed. As a result, independent suppliers face a choice between lowering prices to remain competitive, or expanding inventory across verticals to remain agile. Typically, that means a transition from center-of-plate to broadline distribution.
The food service industry is infamous for its tight margins, high overheads, and dramatic turnover rates within the first few years. Yet overall growth remains strong. Never before have consumers had such a choice of niche, independent businesses, or large chain franchises.
Recent cases of avian flu strain H5N8 found in chicken flocks in Oregon, California and Washington have emphasized why disposable gloves are a necessity in the food processing industry.
Food processing facilities follow the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) rules, but these food safety guidelines are the bare minimum facilities undertake to prevent contamination. In addition to HACCP, these facilities follow rules regarding high- and low-care (or high- and low-risk) areas.
The Norovirus is commonly associated with wide-spread illness that occurs on cruise ships, but those account for only about 1% of all reported norovirus outbreaks. Recent news of Norovirus affecting a popular restaurant chain confirms that it can occur anywhere people gather or food is served. Infected people can spread norovirus to others through close contact or by contaminating food and surfaces. Food service workers who have the norovirus can contaminate food and make many people sick. However, there are ways to help prevent norovirus outbreaks in the food service industry such as following food service safety practices like proper barrier protection and hygiene policies.
Consumers have become more concerned about what is in their food and how those products move from farm to table, and government regulators and restaurants around the world have stepped up to keep the public more informed about food safety. This trend is evident through posted food safety scores, which are becoming more visible to consumers.
The National Restaurant Association celebrates National Food Safety Month, every September as a way to increase awareness and education about proper food handling. The month-long event was established in 1994 and promotes food safety awareness through prevention and protection. September is Food Safety Month: Why Use Gloves?
Sept. 1 kicks off the National Restaurant Association’s National Food Safety Month (NFSM). The event, which recently passed its 20th anniversary, highlights the need for proper food handling throughout the food industry. Over the course of the month AMMEX will support NFSM and provide extra insight into safety throughout the food industry.