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Food Regulations Drive Supply Chain Traceability

May 12, 2022

In new research on asset visibility in the food and beverages supply chain, ABI Research has identified key industry initiatives and regulatory changes which are driving traceability in the food industry across different regions. Spurred by voluntary industry standards, the regulations have evolved to react to food safety incidents, localize food recall, and meet export requirements. Players throughout the food and beverages supply chain are adjusting to the regulatory changes and adopting technology which meets the legal baseline both for domestic food production as well as for food imports and exports, while simultaneously looking to benefit their bottom line. The direct impact of traceability is greater implementations for full supply chain visibility, a growing topic of interest for food networks worldwide.

“The EU’s General Food Law, Canada’s SFCA (Safe Food for Canadians Act), and the United States’ FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) are driving adoption for supply chain traceability solutions, as navigating greater regulatory scrutiny is critical for firms across the value chain wishing to access these large food markets,” explains Abdullah Haider, IoT Markets Research Analyst at ABI Research. “For countries that have yet to implement end-to-end traceability mandates, the insight of other regional countries which have already done so serves as a blueprint for companies to better adjust to future regulatory changes based on past experience.”

While much of the lead for traceability comes from Europe and North America, many countries in the Asia Pacific and Rest of the World (ROW) regions are looking to roll-out their own systems to avoid being left out of the lucrative food export market. ABI Research sees emerging countries paying particular attention as they seek to develop their food industry, while countries with more established industries such as Japan and South Korea also aim to tackle the challenge for domestic food markets. As the market for food traceability systems becomes more penetrated in Europe and North America, specialist software companies offering digital record-keeping will start focusing their efforts on the much more fragmented markets in the APAC and ROW regions.

This research analyzes historic, current, and future trends in traceability mandates and industry initiatives, key data requirements, level of responsibility of different actors along the supply chain, and methods of data collection and storage. In addition, the research looks at the implications and complexities of industry initiatives which are often leading regulatory requirements. Lot-codes forms the basis of most national and regional implementation requirements though there are exceptions, moving a step closer to a standardized data-gathering approach on data throughout the supply chain. As traceability deadlines approach, software companies offering enterprise-level Track and Trace (T&T) solutions, as well as the broader food ecosystem, can leverage this information to understand a crucial source of supply chain visibility data.

Companies leveraging batch-level traceability will find it easier to manage a food incident by having a local batch recall rather than nationwide product recall. “Traceability regulations are transforming food supply chains. While the regulatory environment in both North America and Europe is relatively certain, and implementation is expected to accelerate, countries in Asia-Pacific and Rest of the World can learn lessons from industry-led initiatives in Europe and North America, including voluntary associations to accelerate their timeline and address hurdles such as scale and scope of traceability based on different food and beverage items, laying a strong foundation for supply chain visibility that can be leveraged for many more use-cases like Real-Time Transport Visibility beyond the initial regulatory compliance layer,” Haider concludes.

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