The food and beverage industry has undergone a rapid transformation, especially in 2020-21. The pandemic has hit hard the food business, with many outlets having to shut down. The vulnerability of the food business is peculiar due to the lack of flexibility in the traditional food business supply chain. The challenges faced by the food supply chain management are complicated due to the perishability of the food ingredients that need to be transported and stored.
Technology has come to the rescue of the food supply chain industry by improving logistics flow, production capabilities, inventory management and forecasting. Adapting to technology is no longer an option for the restaurant industry but a necessity. We live in an economy where consumers are knowledgeable, tech-savvy, and have innumerable options available; a food business has to keep up with the changing trends to stay in business and thrive.
Below mentioned are some of the trends in the food supply chain, F&B businesses need to keep track of to be resilient against any disruptions and optimisation of resources:-
Data Analytics and digitisation:-
The supply chain industry has gradually shifted from a traditional medium to a digitised platform driven by big data, and the restaurant supply chain is no exception. Today digitised supply chain uses data generated from the restaurant to make accurate inventory forecasting and management. Digitisation has helped the food outlets to make informed decisions and improve competitive advantage, cost efficiency and product quality.
Flexible supply chain:-
Pandemic has led to a sudden surge in demand for certain goods and a decline in demand for others. In such a scenario, the F&B units struggle to maintain sufficient stock to meet market demand while minimising wastage. The uncertainty in demand has forced the food supply chain companies to devise a flexible supply chain strategy that includes near shoring or near sourcing and diversifying vendor portfolios.
HoReCa Marketplace :-
Digitisation has been in trend for some time, and the pandemic has accelerated the process. The evolution of eCommerce is nothing new for the retail and the consumer goods operation but have been slow for the food fulfilment service. Due to disruption created in the food supply chain, there is a growing need for HoReCa (hotel, restaurant and cafe) marketplace where a robust supply chain is built from factory/farm/vegetable wholesalers to the restaurant/food business. Zomatos acquisition of Hyperpure is a clear indicator to create such a digital marketplace.
Considering there has been a great awareness for healthy living and wellness, the trend towards healthy and safe food will see rapid growth. Food that is organic, wholesome and pesticide-free will be in demand, along with labelling that mentions precisely what’s inside the product. Food supply chain service should make provisions for labelling the food that reflects transparency and invokes the trust of the end customers.
As the food supply chain industry faces disruption, innovation creates resilience to overcome future pandemics, consumer trends, and economic recession.