Partnering with Chipotle on traceability data collection via RFID
Recently, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced they are piloting the use of RFID technology to track ingredients in the supply chain within FoodLogiQ Connect.
With higher consumer expectations and razor-thin profit margins, the entire food industry is increasingly challenged to improve operational efficiencies and supply chain transparency. One evolving technology in the food chain, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), plays a growing role in supporting companies in addressing these challenges.
FoodLogiQ is excited to partner with long-time customer Chipotle Mexican Grill in support of its pilot to test RFID technology to enhance its traceability and inventory management at its Chicago distribution center and approximately 200 restaurants in the greater Chicago area. A leader in food safety, Chipotle's traceability system leveraging FoodLogiQ Track + Trace provides whole-chain visibility from supplier, to distribution center, to a restaurant down to the case.
"We have been developing our RFID program for two years and see this innovation as the next evolution of traceability and food safety," said Laurie Schalow, Chief Corporate Affairs and Food Safety Officer. "We are excited to test this innovation in the field with our suppliers and restaurants to enhance our robust traceability program."
Committed to rigorous Food with Integrity standards, Chipotle purchased more than 35 million pounds of locally grown produce in 2021 and has spent more than $400 million in food premiums over the last two years to buy responsibly sourced and humanely raised ingredients.
The brand is giving further transparency into the direct source of its ingredients. The company has worked closely with the Auburn University RFID Lab to refine the pilot program, which is being tested on meat, dairy, and avocados from five Chipotle suppliers. Ingredients in the test arrive at Chipotle restaurants affixed with RFID-enabled case labels and are scanned by RFID readers, which complement existing scanners in the restaurants, requiring minimal incremental investment. This system is designed to allow the company to act on food safety and quality concerns swiftly, efficiently, and precisely.
Participating suppliers have invested in RFID technology using Chipotle specifications, which is anticipated to save suppliers time on inventory management and stock rotation, mitigate human error, and increase expiration date visibility and data accuracy. Chipotle invited key supply partners to participate in the test and provided partners with an RFID playbook with the best practices and benefits of the program. The brand is leveraging its stage-gate process to test, listen and learn from employees and suppliers before deciding on a system-wide rollout of RFID.