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How to Improve Transparency in Food Manufacturing

Published on: Jan 21, 2016

Do you know what transparency means in the food manufacturing industry? Do you know why it is so important? Do you know how to improve transparency in your processes? If not, read on to learn why transparency is so critical and how you can achieve it.

Transparency is vital in the food manufacturing industry in order to streamline compliance and improve consumer relations. Transparency is needed through all of the stages of food manufacturing including origin, supply, production, processing, and distribution. Successful transparency requires the right technology to streamline tracking and provide information visibility to all who need it.

What is transparency in food manufacturing?

Transparency in the food manufacturing industry involves openly providing information about how food is produced. Both regulators and consumers are looking for information ranging from ingredient origin to the specific processing methods employed by the food manufacturer. Transparency has been a hot topic for food manufacturers for some time. According to Innova Market Insights, transparency is the number two topic on the top-ten list of food trends right after “improving consumer trust”. While many elements of transparency are already practiced and mandated in forms like nutritional labeling and truth-in-advertising statutes, there are many more practices that are needed.

Why is transparency important in food manufacturing?

The need for transparency in food manufacturing is driven by both regulators and consumers. Regulators on local, national, and international levels are requiring more transparency from food companies. The Safe Food for Canadians Act (SCFA) requires increased levels of food tracking through all stages of production, processing, and distribution. It further aligns the Canadian food safety system to meet import requirements of the recent Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the United States. The FSMA greatly expands the power of regulators to require transparency from food manufacturers and importers including detailed record sharing, stricter supply verification, and product tracking farther along the supply chain.

Additional pressure for transparency comes from consumers who desire more information about food including contents, origin and production practices. Over 90% of consumers strongly support labeling foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and 65% want to know more about where their food comes from. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the impact of agricultural and processing practices on the environment. These concerns have led to the rising popularity of organic, grass-fed, carbon footprint, buying local and recyclable packaging. This increased consumer and regulatory scrutiny has resulted in the need for food manufacturers to provide greater transparency, traceability and food safety.

Where is food manufacturing transparency needed?

  1. Supply chain: The first step in establishing transparency is through the supply chain. Moving toward complete supply chain visibility and transparency is inevitable.
  2. Manufacturing: You must have visibility within your own operations as well. You will need detailed information about everything you do and make that available to regulators, consumers, and your food safety personnel.
  3. Marketing: A successful transparency campaign can improve consumer satisfaction and result in increased revenues. It can help you eliminate brand-damaging problems like recalls by helping you avoid spoilage and prevent cross-contamination.

We will discuss each of these areas—what is needed and how to achieve it—in more detail in future blogs.

How can you achieve transparency in food manufacturing?

Successful transparency in food manufacturing requires the right technology that can track your food product from the supplier, through manufacturing, and to the consumer. IWI Consulting Group offers enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for food manufacturers. Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) will allow you to achieve transparency in your food manufacturing business by streamlining tracking and making all of your information accessible to those who need it. With Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3), you will have real-time visibility of consumer preferences, easier ways to comply with government regulations and packaging requirements, and the ability to meet the unique needs of your distributors.

For more information on achieving transparency, download our free whitepaper, Improving Transparency in Food Manufacturing. Contact us for help in establishing transparency with Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) in your food manufacturing business.