The food industry has been soaring the heights of success in terms of innovations and the adoption of latest technology, and the beverage industry is not far behind either. The food industry has seen a decline in fast food, and fat-rich food items as customers are becoming more nutrition-friendly, prefer fat-free products, and are generally more inclined towards maintaining robust health. Hence, food products today are not just judged based on the quality but also the nutritional content. In the beverage industry too, there has been an increase in the popularity of cold pressed drink with minimal or no amount of added preservatives. In fact, due to the rising number of health-conscious customers, the demand and sales of aerated drinks have started going downhill. But this is not the only challenge that players face in the food and beverage industry. Given below are some key areas of challenge that companies in the food and beverage industry must be prepared for:
Keeping tabs on regulatory compliance
The food and beverage industry is governed by various regulatory bodies such as the FDA, which keeps a close watch on their operations. But regulatory compliance for companies in the food industry and beverage industry does not end there. They must also comply with other factors such as workplace safety and health regulations, environmental permit requirements, product and chemical regulations, and others. In a scenario where companies have operations scaling at the global level, regulatory compliance becomes a highly daunting task. Food and beverage industry players must have a clear understanding of the regulatory requirements across various regions that they operate in.
Ensuring food safety
According to a recent research, each year 1 in 6 Americans becomes ill, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. The brand image and reputation of companies in the food industry is at stake when it comes to food safety. Same is the case for companies in the beverage industry as well. Due to the risk involved for both the public and the company’s reputation, food safety will continue to be priority numero uno for F&B companies. However, food safety is not a monolithic area of concern. It rather has many dimensions to it such as product design, the sourcing of products from the supply chain, hazards encountered during production processes (addressed by implementing the HACCP preventive approach), quality control, and packaging.
A food or a beverage does not just include the final product that is consumed; the materials used in packaging are also a vital part of the product. The packaging can significantly raise the carbon footprint of the whole product, and food packaging can also generate waste. Also, if there are hazardous chemicals in food packaging, there are chances of them coming in contact with the contents inside and potentially create a health hazard for consumers. Hence, it is essential for food industry companies to ensure that they use appropriate packaging for the products. The same goes for beverage industry companies as well.
Supply chain risk
To analyze the potential vulnerabilities and risks in the supply chain, companies in the food and beverage industry must have a thorough knowledge of all the parties involved in producing, storing, and distributing the ingredients and products from farm to fork. If companies are not fully aware of each part that they source from, it could land them in serious trouble in the long run. For instance, food retailer Costco Wholesale was sued in a California court in August 2015 for purchasing and then selling to the consumers farmed shrimp from Thailand, which is fed a diet of cheap fish caught at sea in areas where unpaid forced labor is widespread. The company’s brand image was also affected due to this scandal.