FoodLogiQ Labs Meets to Explore Advanced Tech, RFID in the Food Supply Chain
The series of interactive research and development sessions unites FoodLogiQ leaders with partners and customers to test evolving technologies. FoodLogiQ Labs works to leverage these technologies to solve problems and create new possibilities within the food supply chain.
FoodLogiQ customers, partners and affiliated industry-leading organizations recently gathered in Durham, NC for another session of FoodLogiQ Labs. FoodLogiQ launched the innovation lab with these key partners in 2018 to help current and future FoodLogiQ customers capitalize on emerging technologies that meet the growing needs of the food industry. In doing so, FoodLogiQ Labs aims to better equip customers with tools and strategies for enhanced, innovative supply chain management.
The event began with a debriefing of the FDA’s recent public meeting on A New Era of Smarter Food Safety by FoodLogiQ Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Katy Jones. Jones recapped key elements from the event, which focused on end-to-end traceability throughout the food safety system and emphasized people-led, FSMA-focused and tech-enabled initiatives. She also shared insights from public comments, which centered heavily around the FDA’s implementation of focus groups targeting the following four strategic areas of smarter food safety:
- Technology-enabled traceability and outbreak response
- Smarter tools and approaches for prevention
- New business models and retail modernization
- Food safety culture
Jones shared that, in an effort to supplement dialogue from around these themes, the administration is currently requesting public comment. In addition, the FDA details additional tools, technologies, processes and approaches supporting each of these areas in “Food for Thought: Ideas on How to Begin a New Era of Smarter Food Safety.” The guide begins with a letter announcing the administration's plans to release a blueprint for protecting public health and staying atop changes in the global food supply chain in early 2020; it also focuses heavily on consistency, new technology and Key Data Elements (KDEs).
Following the recap of A New Era of Smarter Food Safety, GS1 US’® Kevin Otto presented GS1’s latest blockchain discussion group updates and future plans. The cross-industry discussion group is a collaborative effort that unites four industries: foodservice, retail grocery, apparel/GM and healthcare. Its current focuses include blockchain, supply chain visibility and the need for standardized data. In such, the group’s near-term goals consist of: providing straightforward education and industry insight on blockchain, creating a collaborative virtual knowledge management center and publishing cross-industry guidance on a core set of standards needed to leverage blockchain for supply chain visibility.
It’s important to note that EPCIS is the backbone of this work. And in recent discussions, GS1 US® has found that there is a strong need for education around EPCIS. In addition, the non-profit information standards organization has found that there is value beyond supply chain visibility and that automation in the form of smart contracts may be quite beneficial. Finally, another key takeaway relates to the necessity for interoperability: as more than one blockchain solution will exist for the entire industry, standards and interoperability are a must.
FoodLogiQ partner Avery Dennison also took the stage, outlining trends that are disrupting the food industry, among them new delivery models, automation and blockchain. Avery Dennison’s Julie Vargas also elaborated on the technology drivers causing this disruption, such as complex supply chains, speed and efficiency, labor shortages, and sustainability and food waste. According to the World Economic Forum, innovative technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) and food-sensing technologies for food safety, quality and traceability could reduce food waste by one to four percent and five to seven percent, respectively.
Avery Dennison’s Manager of Technology Development Jeanne Duckett assisted Vargas in providing an interactive explanation of an RFID label’s anatomy, functionality and usage of GS1 Standards. In addition, the team discussed different applications of RFID technology across the food supply chain, engaged FoodLogiQ Labs participants in a live demo and conducted a robust discussion of RFID usage throughout the food supply chain.
FoodLogiQ Labs hosts and attendees alike enjoyed a successful and engaging series of presentations, discussions, networking and customer feedback. If you’re interested in joining the next FoodLogiQ Labs event, be sure to sign up for reCONNECT 2020 from March 24 through 26 in Raleigh, North Carolina.