As the United States enters its third pandemic year, the virus’s impact on the food industry will continue, even as supply chain partners embrace new trends and this year to not only survive, but discard the old in order to flourish.
John Rowley, Vice President of the Global Food Division of NSF International, recently discussed his thoughts on 2022 trends in the food industry with a focus on food safety issues. NSF specializes in food safety training, testing, consulting and other services.
Rowley said all segments of the supply chain, from producers through to retailers and restaurants, continue to shift to face challenges, even as the pandemic causes staff shortages and increased supply chain gridlock. Has been.
According to Rolle, the key trends anticipated for the industry include:
- Growing demand for home delivery;
- staffing crisis;
- Opportunities to cut food waste; And
Knock off Who is there? Dinner
Rowley said as coronavirus variants continue to curb dining at restaurants and increase uncertainty in the sector, home food delivery will remain popular in 2022. This includes traditional restaurants, pop-ups, and ghost kitchens. An NSF survey released this month highlights pandemic concerns among quick service restaurant workers and decision makers around the world.
According to a survey of nearly 700 people, 38 percent of survey respondents said they feel extra pressure to prepare food faster. The NSF reported that 22 percent said that home delivery posed an increased food risk.
Rowley said food service establishments, regardless of their business model, have an obligation to serve quality, safe food. This includes cooking and how the food is treated during transport to the consumer, or “post-order supply chain”, as Rowley calls it.
“As an industry, we need to help these companies succeed, give them the opportunity to succeed so that the consumer can have a satisfactory product,” Rowley said.
He said the workforce crisis in the food service and other industries threatens recruitment and retention.
“Staff shortage is a fundamental issue, but what are the unintended consequences?” Rowley said, pointing out that retail and foodservice outlets are under pressure to perform with pre-pandemic hours of operations, staffing and services.
“Does this represent food security?” They said.
The issue won’t disappear once the pandemic is over — although it has been fixed — and Rowley said a campaign to promote food safety careers at the college level needs to be focused.
“I think as an industry we have to make sure that it (food security) is seen as an interesting job and an important role for the industry,” he said. “We need to do better job marketing, working together to create a satisfying and enjoyable career for those who do it.”
Rowley said longtime food safety professionals are choosing to retire from the industry as the pandemic continues. Their collective institutional knowledge is crucial to maintain, he said.
Not Waste… Waste Note
The food industry has made great strides in recent years to curb food waste, ending the term “upcycling” but selling edible food “ugly” products that do not conform to industry standards. Rowley said this year’s issue of food waste will ensure that concerns about food security don’t become food waste due to supply chain failures.
“When food transport gets delayed, it puts pressure on storage and delivery quality control,” he said. “… if the food safety standards are good, it’s not really a food safety issue. It becomes an issue of food waste.”
In the early days of the pandemic, some retailers and food service operators began sourcing from close suppliers. An example is Eastern US retailers who have purchased leafy greens from small hydroponic indoor farms nearby. He said turning to local producers is a trend that is continuing.
stability, as a trend, stability
As more corporations chart their sustainability programs and release annual reports showcasing those steps, sustainability programs are gaining steam in every food sector. Rowley said sustainability is a huge metric for measuring a company’s performance, along with food security and finance.
“As we move forward, companies should not only be measured on traditional financial metrics, which is the main measure of company performance. I think we should increase the importance of sustainability,” he said.
post pandemic scene
Rawley warned companies against reverting to pre-pandemic trends after returning to “more normal” life without first assessing the business environment.
“I think that when the crisis is over, it does not mean that these trends will stop or stop. Never waste a good crisis, if there is any good that can come out of it.”
(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here,