Food industry supply chain is hungry for change

April 16, 2017 – The global supply chain is under increasing pressure from new demands, fuelled by technological advances and the decidedly critical consumer; barraging logistics processes to adapt to the effervescent era of pandering to consumer demands, as opposed to procuring profitability margins.

One very important sector which is feeling the pinch more so than others is the Food Industry.

UKWA recently conducted a ninemonth research project which explored the current struggles of the food industry in the Capital and cities across the UK. Aptly named ‘Feeding London 2030’ it explored the treacherous trend of the evergrowing demand for food and the impact that ecommerce and the increasing demands of the consumer have on the food industry; in turn predicting how this may affect the global supply chain and more directly the ‘global food-chain’ in the next 30 years if a sustainable system for the continuous provision of food is not effectively enrolled.

The modern food industry is a multifaceted international process, involving manufacturers, distributors and retailers alike; with the global food industry supply chain in increasingly high demand from food retailers, wholesalers, markets, hospitality and food services.

Awareness of the ever-growing population, has sparked predictions that over the next 15 years, the Capital could reach a new capacity of 10 million; UKWA reports there could be an estimated additional 1.5 billion mouths to feed. With those figures, and reports of increasing global competition for food, the question on everyone’s lips is, what is the best plan of action to sustainably feed the Capital and growing cities throughout the UK, now and in the future.
The days of retailers and restaurants relying on ‘regular’ customers, and their recurrent purchases and orders are proving ever more elusive, following the introduction of longer working hours, ever-changing shift patterns, increased free-time and spending power; A new breed of consumer has been cultivated.

An increasing need to eat on the move, and growing expectations of having the choice of where, when and what to eat, has meant pressure is being put on the global food chain to provide the necessary products to fuel fast food outlets, convenience stores, take-away chains, and the provision of ready-meals in supermarkets. In turn, retailers are being coerced into adapting to a seemingly more customerorientated society.

As more and more tech savvy consumers, start to shape the swiftly evolving ‘food-chain’, it seems that the only way for the food industry to survive, is for suppliers and manufacturers alike to develop existing, and introduce new technologies, in any effort to remain successful.
There have however been keen developments in supply chain technology, concerning data analysis, collaboration, consolidation, distribution and warehouse efficiency; with new technologies quickly improving communication and collaboration across all operations of the supply chain, in turn increasing the efficiency of logistics processes.

Predictions of the future status of the food industry and the continued pressures on the supply chain, are all that can be supplied for now. With the confounding variable of the increasing population of the Capital and surrounding UK cities, it cannot be stated for certain what the future holds.

One thing for certain is that with food production being an industrialized practice alongside the globalization of the trade and distribution of food produce; a sustainable plan of action addressing how to sustainably feed growing cities throughout the UK, now and in the future needs to be implemented and maintained; based on the projections for population growth and the already prominent pressures on global supply chain, and more specifically the Food Industry.

Source: Warehouse & Logistics News