What a week! I attended, for the first time, the Global Food Safety Conference and it was an inspiring experience. For the first time we had a stand there and we were overwhelmed by the positive response we received through our contribution.
For those of you that do not know the Global Food Safety Conference is the annual conference for the Global Food Safety Initiative. click the link for more info on GFSI. It brings together leaders in industry, academia and regulation to discuss topics on securing safer food production world wide. Not a bad reason to get together.
What was interesting for me personally was the participation in media activities which was entirely new. I did several interviews over audio and video during the event and even some filming for the event as well which was a very weird experience.
You can read one of the articles written based on an interview here.
So why am I writing about this? Well apart from my being HYPED at having attended the conference there were also some themes that emerged for me that I wanted to share, these are alluded to in the article linked above but I want to pull them out more distinctly.
Supply chains are getting more complex – Amazon were at the conference, why? Well they sell food. A lot of it. They have also recently signed a deal with Morrisons to sell fresh and frozen food. This is not going to make the supply chain simpler and by defacto a more complex supply chain creates more challenges in managing quality and therefore a higher risk of food safety incidents.
Digitalization is upon us – We have been saying this for some time and we have solutions already in place to support our customers in this area. But it would seem that others are also saying the same. “Big Data” was in almost every other sentence spoken during the conference. However, it was not always uttered positively, which is a good thing! As with all buzz-wordy things it can be common to become distracted by these things as opposed to trying to address what are the fundamentals. When it comes to food safety the fundamentals are really fundamentals and forgetting them is when these systems fall down. Therefore the article from Joe in Food Quality News. Data and the analysis of it is only valuable if then employed to generate real improvements in the operations. If it isn’t how does it add value to you? If you use it to show how good you already are how have you improved?
So those were my takeaways from the conference. There were some others but those are the headlines.