The “Best If Used By” Date Label: Will It Reduce Food Waste?

The “Best If Used By” Date Label: Will It Reduce Food Waste?

On May 23, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a letter urging industry-wide adoption of a “Best If Used By” date. The letter seeks to simplify what has for years been a somewhat random system of various dates printed on foods that generally confused consumers and led to waste because consumers – often incorrectly – threw out food because of a printed date, even if the food was still safe to eat. It’s interesting to note that there is only one category of foods that require date labeling: infant formula. For...Continue Reading...
World Hunger Day 2019: Sustainability

World Hunger Day 2019: Sustainability

Today, May 28, is World Hunger Day 2019, an initiative by The Hunger Project. According to their website: More than 821 million people do not have enough food to eat. 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women. 98 percent of the world’s undernourished live in developing countries. Hunger kills more than Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined. The Hunger Project is focused on solving a number of issues associated with food. Their view, according to their website, is that: Hunger is not just about food. Hunger and poverty are...Continue Reading...
The Grocery Shopping Experience: Fresh Foods, Fresh Ideas

The Grocery Shopping Experience: Fresh Foods, Fresh Ideas

The grocery shopping experience continues to evolve. More than one third of U.S. grocery shoppers are now shopping online, according to Coresight Research. In their U.S. Online Grocery Survey 2019 that was recently referenced in The Supermarket News, 36.8 percent of those polled bought groceries online over the past year. This is up 23.1 percent from the previous year. They figure that this represents about 93 million online grocery purchasers, a gain of nearly 35 million from 2018. However, their research also showed that only 39.5...Continue Reading...
Rethinking Food Safety and the Supply Chain

Rethinking Food Safety and the Supply Chain

Recently, I saw the Produce Marketing Association’s Dr. Bob Whitaker present on food safety and the supply chain. Dr. Bob, as he’s affectionately known, was the opening keynote speaker at the Salinas AgTech Summit in March and also the closing keynote speaker at this month’s PMA TechKnowledge conference. At both events, his message was about the need to rethink how we, as an industry, address food safety challenges and the supply chain. For me to summarize his presentations would be challenging as they were quite comprehensive and...Continue Reading...
Blockchain for Fresh Food Supply Chains – Reality Sets In?

Blockchain for Fresh Food Supply Chains – Reality Sets In?

When it comes to implementing blockchain for fresh food supply chains, has reality set in? Back in late 2017, blockchain was seen as a messiah, of sorts, for food safety and traceability. It seemed like it was hard to go a day without seeing an article in the press about this. Blockchain was going to solve all of our supply chain problems for freshness, traceability and food safety. Has it? Gartner’s Opinion Last year, in August of 2018, Gartner, the internationally recognized analyst firm, in its Hype Cycle for Emerging...Continue Reading...
Earth Day 2019 and Looking Ahead to 2020

Earth Day 2019 and Looking Ahead to 2020

Last Monday was Earth Day 2019 and today marks the conclusion of Earth Month. The first Earth Day was back in 1970. 49 years later, we should probably ask ourselves how much progress has been made? Cause to Celebrate According to a recent article about Earth Day in Supermarket News, of late, there has been some good news to celebrate, including: Aldi announced that by 2025, 100% of their packaging, including plastic packaging, will be reusable, recyclable or compostable. Aldi will also reduce packaging material across its entire...Continue Reading...
Cold Supply Chain Variability – The Impact of Delays

Cold Supply Chain Variability – The Impact of Delays

Cold supply chain variability is, oddly, a constant. And, the impact of delays and other variables on freshness and quality can be significant. Politics aside, this issue has been highlighted of late due to delays of getting trucks across the border from Mexico into the USA. According to an article in Fresh Fruit Portal “Producers of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries have on average experienced a 20% drop in sales as the extended wait times crossing into the U.S. have resulted in reduced shelf life for the...Continue Reading...
Salad Kits: How to Ensure Freshness

Salad Kits: How to Ensure Freshness

I came across an interesting article in Medium, The History of Packaged Salad in 5 Minutes. Many of us purchase packaged salad blends or salad kits on a regular basis. Statista says that, in 2016, Americans purchased $964 million in salad blends and $950 million in salad kits. If you factor in cole slaw and other prepared salads, the total comes to almost $3.7 billion! Americans love convenience! In fact, we’re now changing the face of convenience stores, long the bastion of junk food. Bucking past trends, produce sales in...Continue Reading...
Cold Chain Visibility: Who’s Winning the Freshness Wars?

Cold Chain Visibility: Who’s Winning the Freshness Wars?

Do you have complete cold chain visibility for your fresh produce? Are you getting the freshest produce, or is your competitor down the street? Where do you rank? Why is it important? According to FMI’s Grocery Shopper Trends 2018, 80 percent of shoppers decide where to shop because of high quality fruits and vegetables. That’s the top reason people choose a grocery store. The question is, are they choosing your store or are they going to your competitor? Many retailers lack cold chain visibility and assume that the produce that...Continue Reading...
Fresh Produce and Health: What’s the Connection?

Fresh Produce and Health: What’s the Connection?

What’s the relationship between fresh produce and health? Is fresh produce or medicine prescribed by your doctor better for you? A recent article in Fast Company “Prescribing” fruits and veggies would save $100 billion in medical costs indicates that we might be better off with fewer pill bottles and more fruits and vegetables. The article cites research from Tufts University that we can reduce chronic diseases by subsidizing the costs of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods. It states: Roughly 70% of diseases in the...Continue Reading...