Nutrition Facts & Ingredients Reveal Intricacy Behind Global Food and Beverage Supply Chain
In today’s society, there is a growing consumer awareness regarding what we put into our bodies, particularly when it comes to packaged foods and beverages. In response to consumer demands requesting a better understanding regarding food contents, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that all packaged food and beverages must contain a label which lists the nutrition facts as well as an ingredients list.
When it comes to educating consumers regarding the ingredients and nutritional content of food, labels play an important role. Additionally, they also provide a glimpse into the complexity of the supply chain that supports the food and beverage industry.
To understand the specifics of what I mean, let’s look at the ingredients list of a protein bar (noted in the picture above). The bar consists of some of the following liquid or chemical ingredients:
Whey Protein Isolate (Milk) – As you are aware, milk is a white liquid produced from dairy cows. The product is produced worldwide, but the main producers are New Zealand, Europe, Australia, and the US. It is usually sourced locally since it does not have a very long shelf life.
Calcium Caseinate – This is a chemical that is created by changing the pH of skim milk from a neutral to an acid. Since it is a derivative of milk, the suppliers usually are the same. The powder is frequently stored in small containers, making it hard to track.
Maltitol syrup – This chemical compound is a sugar alcohol that is derived from corn. There are only a handful of companies in the world that produce this compound. It can come in both crystal and liquid form. Certain governments have mandated that the use of this chemical in food products must contain a warning.
Although I have only highlighted three, there are over 30 ingredients listed on the label. Each one has its own challenges in regards to sourcing, storing, tracking and shelf life, and this information pertains to only one product! Add in other product lines a company may manufacture and things can become really complicated.
If you work in the food and beverage industry, perhaps you are dealing with these challenges. You may want to consider implementing a best practices chemical inventory system. The benefits of such a system would include the following:
- Tracking – A good chemical inventory system will incorporate barcoding technology into the solution. When chemicals arrive from vendors, they can be quickly barcoded, labeled and placed into the system. The system can then inform workers of the last known location of the chemical.
- Expiration Management – The system is designed to track the expiration date of chemicals. Utilizing this process, management can be alerted as to when certain chemicals will expire. Then using the tracking system, they can locate and use these chemicals before they are unfit for use.
- Regulations – An effective chemical inventory system should be designed to help companies stay in compliance. This means tracking and updating the system according to country specific regulations and then producing reports that address these regulations.
Food labels provide insight into the ingredients included within food and beverages, and also hints at the supply chain labyrinth behind each product. A best practices chemical inventory system like CISPro is designed to reduce the challenges of the complexity in supply chains by providing location information, tracking expiration dates and helping maintain country specific compliance.
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