Food labelling and safety, brand protection and sharing product data were key points of focus at the GS1 Australia’s Supply Chain Week 2015, which wrapped up this week.
Over two weeks in Melbourne and Sydney, the event’s dynamic line-up featured high-profile speakers and the latest industry insights, global developments, local success stories, regulatory updates, future trends and access to industry experts and alliance partners.
The Food & Beverage Day, held in Melbourne on October 6 and Sydney on October 13, offered enriching learning and networking experiences for suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and distributors. The presentation topics include the latest technologies in packaging and labelling, industry insights about sharing product data in an omni-channel environment, and food-safety issues regarding product recall and counterfeiting.
Speakers from HealthShare NSW discussed how access to packaging accessibility data could assist with purchasing decisions when ordering food for patients. According to the organisation’s Strategic Access Director, Fergal Barry, more than 70 per cent of elderly and 50 per cent of all patients struggle with packaging, which represents a major barrier to good nutrition.
The importance of timely food recalls and crisis management was discussed in a session on food safety and brand protection.
Entamio Education Group Director Steve Hather said that while incidents were inevitable, they didn’t have to become crises if businesses instigated the key measures of investigation, assessment, strategy and communication.
GS1 Australia Senior Advisor – Industry Solutions Andrew Brown outlined the features of GS1 Recallnet and emphasised the importance of conducting mock recalls to prepare ahead of any problems.
AsureQuality Innovation Manager Aaron Lambert discussed the challenges facing global food and beverage businesses, including counterfeiting and traceability. He also spoke about the consumer app, Authenticateit, which enables users to scan the code on product packaging with a mobile device, to access the item’s real-time GPS track and trace function, in addition to the food safety and quality information verified by AsureQuality inSight.
On the topic of food labelling, Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) Director of Legal and Regulatory Chris Preston questioned the need for excessive information panels and logos and said the future of labelling didn’t involve labels, but smartphones.
The role of smartphones in providing access to personalised and extensive product information without overloading labels is discussed in ‘The smart new world’ white paper from GS1, AFGC, Telstra and Cadence Economics.
Representatives from Coles, Woolworths and Metcash were also present to give updates on issues affecting their respective supply chains.
Coles Supplier Standards and Performance Manager Matt Lowe spoke about Coles’ goal of improving transparency and communication. The retailer has moved towards this with the launch of its new supply standards in July this year, consolidating 14 standards into one.
Metcash Group Data Solutions manager Jude McEvoy spoke about the introduction of an eData strategy that resulted in a 15 per cent reduction in buying administration time and a decrease in new-line processing time from 10 days to within two.
Woolworths Mercury 2 Supplier Engagement and Capability Natasha Tosswill spoke about how the supply chain of today fails to meet future needs and how Woolworths is adapting its distribution centres. Woolworths’ South Melbourne DC is scheduled to open in 2018 and the retailer will be in touch with suppliers early next year to discuss new delivery requirements.