2022 Predictions See Better Days for the Food Industry
The food industry has had to overcome several COVID-related challenges, including auditing shifts, supply chain disruptions, inflation, and labor shortages. However, as the industry focuses on strengthening the supply chain, gathering information to boost safety and quality efforts, and the emergence of tech solutions, it’s safe to say that better days for the food industry aren’t far away.
Although the pandemic has been a major inconvenience for the food industry, a few silver linings have emerged from the pandemic. For one, the food business auditing process has been changed due to COVID restrictions, and the process is more collaborative than before. There have also been positive changes in the supply chain as they’ve become more flexible, resilient, and safe. The pandemic-related supply chain disruptions taught the food industry important lessons regarding agility, traceability, and transparency. A few other positive predictions for the food industry this year include:
A focus on building an agile, resistant supply chain. Supply chains should help eliminate food waste and reduce the time and distance food travels. The industry is focusing on becoming more efficient, agile, and sustainable. Looking into 2022, supply chains need to become more resilient, using flexible operations, tech tools, and smarter packaging.
Circular supply chains. A circular supply chain constantly monitors products from production to consumption to ensure high quality and safety. Additionally, circular supply chains are sustainable as they can decrease companies’ costs, reduce price volatility, and reduce waste.
An increase in data visibility and recency. Organizations will leverage artificial intelligence to increase data points and ensure recency in their knowledge of supply chain performance. Digital tools help companies track their products more efficiently and accurately from their origin to their destination. In the event of a food safety breach or recall, businesses can expedite tracking and identify where potentially tainted products are at any moment.
Embracing upcycling. Companies have used upcycling for years, but it hasn’t been received as a positive thing until now. Today, companies are using “misfit” produce in their products. Consumers support this movement as it minimizes waste and finds new uses for foods that otherwise would have been thrown away.
The rise in ghost kitchens. Ghost kitchens, kitchens used for “to go” orders, are a rising trend. These commercial kitchens are virtual businesses without onsite dining. This allows operators to manage the increased demand for delivery meals without the overhead costs of infrastructure or front-of-house staff.
The food industry has experienced its fair share of bad news and frustration throughout the pandemic. However, the food industry has shown remarkable resilience and flexibility, striving to meet changing demands and regulations. With the start of 2022, although we’re facing new variants, the future is starting to look brighter as positive trends are emerging.