Read the Zest blog: Addressing the Freshness, Waste and Safety of Perishable Food   Read the Blog
Margins Matter – Don’t Get Squeezed

Margins Matter – Don’t Get Squeezed

When my kids were young, each night at bedtime I’d read them two or three books. One of their favorites was “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” Maybe you’ve read it to your children or grandchildren. It details how poor Alexander’s day starts off bad (gum in his hair when he wakes up) and just gets worse. I’ll bet each of us has had at least one of those days. I wonder if that’s how grocery retailers feel these days. It seems almost daily we see stories in the news or trade press about a new challenge...Continue Reading...
It’s Like Waze for the Fresh Food Supply Chain

It’s Like Waze for the Fresh Food Supply Chain

Waze is my go-to navigation app. Most days I think I would be lost without it. But some days I think it’s getting me lost. In fact, in the last six months alone, Waze has charted about 20 different routes for my evening commute. Sometimes I take the freeway. Other times I go through residential neighborhoods that I didn’t even know existed. Sometimes I go north to get south. Why so many different routes? Because traffic is dynamic, fluid and based on countless variables. There could be an accident, an “object on the road ahead,”...Continue Reading...
A Picture is Worth…

A Picture is Worth…

You know how to complete that sentence. In many cases, such as when trying to describe a person’s face or the Grand Canyon, a picture is most likely well worth the thousand words. But, when it comes to determining the freshness of perishable foods, a picture doesn’t tell you all that much. Why? Because a picture only tells a part of the story and, without the rest, the information you get is incomplete and often misleading. For example, in the photo above, you can tell that runner 1662 was ahead at the time the photo was taken but...Continue Reading...
Where’s the beef (been)?

Where’s the beef (been)?

And is it authentic? And has it been properly handled? The 1984 Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” commercial is a classic as Clara Peller, with a voice probably unlike any other human being, demands to know why the hamburger patty in her fast food restaurant burger is so small. Today, consumers are increasingly demanding answers to, “where did the beef come from?”, “is it truly grass fed?” and “has it been properly handled during processing and shipping?”. These questions are not just about beef either. They’re about poultry, pork and...Continue Reading...
Is Your Fresh Food Supply Chain Stuck in the ‘60s?

Is Your Fresh Food Supply Chain Stuck in the ‘60s?

“Flower power” and “cool baby” were popular phrases in the 1960s, and those of us in the fresh and perishable food supply chain industries still like to think about flowers and being cool (or cold). But, it’s a downer when we read that we’re still wasting 40% of our food every year. It bums me out. Why? Because it doesn’t have to be this way. We have the ability to reduce pre-consumer perishable food waste by 50% or more. The reason we, as an industry, haven’t made much of a dent in this problem is that too often we approach it by...Continue Reading...
What? No Bacon? (Cue Ominous Music)

What? No Bacon? (Cue Ominous Music)

A fast food restaurant running out of bacon? Sounds like my worst nightmare!  I remember waking up in a cold sweat one night and immediately racing to my closest 24-hour fast food place. Phew, the bacon cheeseburger was still there. I ordered two, just to be safe. OK, my nightmare didn’t happen but this one pictured above apparently did and, no doubt, led to a lot of frustrated and unhappy customers at Wendy’s that day. What happened? What went wrong? While it’s hard to say, it could have been: The restaurant was incredibly busy...Continue Reading...
Finding the Right Tools: Can Blockchain and IoT Fix the Fresh Food Supply Chain? – Register for the Webinar

Finding the Right Tools: Can Blockchain and IoT Fix the Fresh Food Supply Chain? – Register for the Webinar

Remember MacGyver? He could take items from a junk drawer and somehow form a device to save the world. Just like real life, right? Not so much. Those of us in the real world need the right tools to solve complex problems. We wouldn’t use a stapler to repair a circuit board or masking tape to patch a tire. Solving the food waste and food safety challenge is similar. The old tools and methods of paper-based tracking and visual inspection that have been used for years have had limited, if any, impact on solving these problems. Food...Continue Reading...
Myth Busting: Produce Shrink is Caused at the Store

Myth Busting: Produce Shrink is Caused at the Store

There are a lot of popular myths these days. Many people, for example, think the shelf-life of Twinkies is years or even decades. In fact, it’s about 45 days. Fresh produce, by comparison, has a much shorter shelf-life and is also associated with a common myth: Produce shrink is caused at the store. Why is this a myth? It’s because the produce looks fresh when it arrives at the store shelf. The problem is that visual inspection or date labeling are very inaccurate (essentially worthless) in trying to anticipate the remaining...Continue Reading...
Are You Ready to Make 2018 Your Best Year Ever?

Are You Ready to Make 2018 Your Best Year Ever?

2018 is on pace to be perhaps the most challenging year yet for retail grocers and the fresh food supply chain. Are you prepared to face the challenges of increasing competition, food safety, sustainability and tighter margins? Will you be able to lead the charge to differentiate your company in the market or will you be left on the sidelines? Join us on February 22nd for a complimentary webinar Setting Blockchain, Waste Reduction and Freshness Metric Goals and position yourself for success in 2018. Click here to register To grow...Continue Reading...
Increasing Trucking Costs Further Squeezes Grocery Margins – Don’t Waste Your Money!

Increasing Trucking Costs Further Squeezes Grocery Margins – Don’t Waste Your Money!

Retail grocers are already feeling the squeeze on margins. New market entrants like Amazon and Aldi have ignited a price war, with Walmart and Kroger further fueling the blaze. Then there’s new shopping models including online, click-to-collect and home delivery of groceries and meal kits for grocers to deal with. And now, to top it all off, grocers also must deal with rapidly increasing transportation costs. While rail and barges play a role in delivering food to grocery stores, the industry is still dependent on truckers. Not only...Continue Reading...