Food Distribution Transparency: 3 Reasons Why It Matters

By
Nicole Georgiev
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It’s important to be aware of the food that you consume and where it comes from. Today, more people than ever are interested in mindful consumption. This is where transparency in the food distribution industry and food supply chain comes into play. 

When it comes to food, consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing items labeled as healthy, organic, gluten-free, vegan, 100% natural, and homemade. Consumers expect transparency from their food. This is due to their desire to live a healthier lifestyle and it’s why they opt for healthier food alternatives. 

Technology makes it easy for consumers to learn about the food they consume. Restaurant technology and some restaurant technology trends have made it simple for diners to understand how the food is made. 

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are increasingly common within the food chain. This is causing consumers to carefully read product labels, including wine bottle labels, before making a purchase. Some consumers will pay premium prices for healthier food items. 

To maintain a competitive advantage in the food and beverage industry, you have to be transparent. This is also important when you’re opening a business for the first time, such as opening a restaurant or opening a grocery store

Download the link to the food supply chain eBook

What Is Food Distribution Transparency?

Being transparent in the food distribution industry means that you’re allowing your consumers to know how and where the food you sell was made or grown. This should be done in a clear, accurate, and useful manner through food-related information such as nutritional facts and ingredients. 

In the past, the food supply chain management process wasn’t a factor that many consumers paid attention to. It was more of an internal, or back of house, consideration. However, things have changed. 

Within a transparent supply chain, every link and participant has access to the information they need on the origin and status of the products. This information includes how they produce, grow, package, and store food products. It provides consumers and businesses with a clear picture of where the ingredients and food originate from. 

3 Reasons Why Transparency Matters in Food Distribution and Supply Chain 

Consumers spend an increasing amount of time inspecting food product labels. They scan them for allergens, ingredients, claims, and countries of origin. It’s common for them to also look for information regarding how the product was farmed or manufactured. 

With transparent food distributors, consumers feel that they have control over what they purchase. This is also a great way for food distributors to build trust with their consumers and improve customer satisfaction.

People who are buying or selling wholesale also look into a wholesale directory for wholesale products and distributors. This is also common with dropshipping vendors, so they can provide their own customers with transparency regarding the products they sell. 

Here are three reasons why transparency matters in food distribution and supply chain: 

1. The Need for Food Chain Traceability

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several weaknesses in the global supply chain. There was a huge shift in demand at the start of the pandemic which involved restaurants relying on online sales for profit. At the same time, food producers had to adjust their factory operations in order to ensure food safety

Sourcing raw materials inventory became a huge issue for food producers and overseas transportation has continued to see delays. This has resulted in product shortages. These are some of the common shipping issues that eCommerce shipping companies face with bulk shipping.

Resilient supply chains have to be transparent. This means that businesses should know where their products are coming from and where they are at all times. When it comes to supplier relationship management, transparency is a huge factor. 

Transparency in the food industry will allow people to have access to data regarding quality, timing, and quantity. It provides information that both suppliers and consumers can benefit from.

2. Increased Consumer Pressure

Consumers want transparency. In 2018, Nielsen conducted a survey that revealed 67% of consumers want information regarding every ingredient included in the food products they buy. Other studies have shown consumers have a greater chance of being loyal to a brand that offers transparency. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have increased their food spending. The pandemic itself has caused more people to be concerned about their health and what food items they consume. 

3. Improving Recall Response 

Product recall notices aren’t new. In the past, manufacturers and businesses would issue recall notices, but the source couldn’t always be identified. Nowadays, there are regulations in place that require transparent production and distribution processes. This makes it easier to locate the source of any food safety issue that arises. 

By identifying, isolating, and recalling specific batches or lots, distributors can protect consumers’ safety and health. They also protect their brand’s reputation, reduce food waste, and abide by industry regulations. 

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How to Be More Transparent In Food Supply Chain

Companies that share their values with consumers have grown in popularity. They’ve also realized that having increased food supply chain transparency with their consumers is a powerful business value. It pleases customers and strengthens efficient operations.

A company can be transparent in the food supply chain in the following ways:

Having Sustainable Suppliers

A company is only as good as its suppliers. A transparent food supply chain requires you to share information about your suppliers with your consumers. With that being said, it’s best to make sure that your suppliers share the same commitment to transparency. 

You can improve supplier relationship management tactics. You’ll understand better how they source and deliver their products.

During this process, you’ll have an opportunity to evaluate your suppliers and if any issues need to be addressed or corrected. The information your suppliers share should be valuable and accurate enough to pass along to your consumers. 

Improving Traceability of Source Materials and Ingredients

You should be able to work alongside your suppliers to trace each material and ingredient used for your products. This includes the working conditions of those that harvest the materials, where and how they were harvested, and their environmental impact. 

As a business owner within the food industry, you should familiarize yourself with the fields or animals that are responsible for these ingredients. These can include production facilities for meat products and dairy products. 

The same goes for manufacturing inventory and materials. During this process, you’ll identify if there are hazardous materials and if it’s possible to recycle or reuse them. It’s possible to identify a need for more sustainable alternatives. 

Establishing Open Lines of Communication

Shareability is a term that goes hand in hand with transparency. As a company, you should prepare to share information with your partners and the public. If questions arise regarding the company’s source ingredients or materials, your suppliers should be prepared to answer.

This communication can be done through digital or eCommerce supplier quality management platforms, eCommerce email marketing, or text messaging. There should be open lines of communication at all times. Establishing reliable communication channels will improve your consumer relationships. 

Collecting and Sharing Data Regarding Your Supply Chain

In order to have a transparent supply chain, you have to actively monitor your operations and collect information regarding goods production. Sharing this company data with the public shouldn’t be tricky. 

eCommerce software, including warehouse management system software, restaurant inventory software, and demand planning software, makes data collection automatic. These eCommerce automation tools collect company and product information so that it can be quickly passed along to interested parties. 

The collected data includes information regarding your workforce, how products are made, and how much energy is used during production. Automatic data collection processes save time and get the information across easily. 

Download the link to the food supply chain eBook

Frequently Asked Questions About Transparency In the Food Distribution Industry

How Do You Make a Supply Chain More Transparent?

A supply chain can be more transparent by: 

  1. Having sustainable suppliers
  2. Improving traceability of source materials and ingredients
  3. Establishing open lines of communication
  4. Collecting and sharing data regarding your supply chain

How Does Transparency Contribute to an Effective Supply Chain?

Transparency contributes to an effective supply chain because it creates new business opportunities while improving supply chain visibility to monitor and improve supplier practices. This includes social and environmental practices which can create new market opportunities. 

What Technologies Can Enable Supply Chain Transparency?

The technologies that enable supply chain transparency include: 

  • Blockchain
  • Cloud computing
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Big data analytics

BlueCart is a comprehensive eCommerce software solution for wholesalers, small businesses, dropshippers, and hospitality establishments. We offer a complete set of tools including unlimited digital catalogs, shipping and delivery route management, integrated payment processing, and SEO-ready digital storefronts. Book a demo now to see how BlueCart can save you money and streamline processes today. Note that product demos are a walkthrough of our software, not a source of business advice.

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