IFDA & IFMA publish this bi-monthly newsletter to keep our members informed about this important industry initiative.
This edition starts with some food for thought about e-commerce and foodservice, plus coverage of presentations at the recent GS1 Connect conference, held June 8-12, 2014 in San Diego. A link to presentations for the conference is at the end of this edition.
E-Commerce and Product Information in the Foodservice Industry As the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs embrace technology, they are changing the way people think of food, how they eat, and where they go to eat, states Jason Gunn, manager of the Product Information Management team at US Foods in a recent SmartBlog. To Gunn, the next big thing in foodservice will be e-commerce.
Gunn points to giant e-tailers like Amazon and Zappos as proof that consumers want the ease and convenience of online shopping. Other evidence includes the fact that online sales are growing by 10 percent annually, and are expected to reach $370 billion by 2017. “The appetite for being able to log in, click around, and find the right products is stronger than ever,” says Gunn.
Gunn sees the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative as a tremendous enabler — not only of improved transparency and accuracy of information — but also as a way of meeting consumer demands. Chefs and kitchen managers are constantly on the lookout for products to fit the dietary needs of their customers, and while most broadline distributors have the ability for customers to place an order online, Gunn questions whether they can really “shop.”
“Whether chefs are shopping for shoes or placing a meat and produce order for their restaurants, they want to reach into their pocket and do so on their phones, or sit down with a tablet. And, when placing orders online, chefs, managers, and restaurant purchasing directors need to know everything about a product before they even consider buying it. Is the product trans-fat free? Does it contain peanuts? Can I look at a picture of the product?”
The need to communicate product information in a streamlined and consistent way is precisely what has brought industry leaders together to launch the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative, says Gunn. “Not only do distributors and manufacturers need to make sure that the customer-facing technology is available, they also need to ensure that the user experience and content will be up to snuff alongside those other online retail giants that already have accurate, standardized information about products.”
Heidi Wederquist, director of quality assurance and food safety at Chipotle Mexican Grill, discussed the company’s end-to-end traceability project at the recent GS1 Connect conference in San Diego. The presentation included the release of a case study documenting the chain’s partnership with solution provider FoodLogiQ to leverage GS1 Standards.
Through a cloud-based platform, Chipotle can share standardized product information at every step along the supply chain, from growers to suppliers to distributors, and to more than 1,600 restaurant units.
Using the system, the chain can also proactively track and manage inside and outside data including environmental practices of supplier. That helps Chipotle meet its mission to serve sustainable food from the very best ingredients, according to Wederquist.
Leveraging Foodservice GS1 US Standards and the FoodLogiQ data solution, the Chipotle system provides food product specifications, nutrition information, expiration dates, recipes, and food safety audit reports. “Food miles,” tracked from the field to the restaurant’s back door helps determine how “local” a product is.
IPC/Subway, US Foods, and Foodbuy Discuss GDSN Benefits to Operators and Distributors
Also at GS1 Connect, Lucelena Angarita, quality product manager at IPC/Subway, discussed how her team is using GS1 Standards to leverage supply chain efficiencies and traceability during a session titled “Is Your Data Making the Sale? More Cool Tools for Foodservice.” Angarita said IPC has replaced internal proprietary numbers for transactions and Subway branded items with GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) and is on track to syncronize 75 percent of its product catalog (by volume) with its suppliers by August. The product information is received and shared through the GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network). Already, Subway has determined it can see a return on investment of about $100,000 in annual freight costs just through “cleaner” product information for mayonnaise alone.
During the same session Jason Gunn, product information manager at US Foods, talked about how his company accesses the GDSN to offer his customers enhanced information about foodservice products, especially gluten-free and organic as of late. Mobile apps also help US Foods sales representatives and customers access more accurate and standardized product i*nformation on-the-go.
In the session “Navigating the GDSN in Foodservice,” Andrew Weingarth, senior manager of data integration at Foodbuy, LLC (a division of Compass Group) addressed the company’s use of GDSN for allergen and nutritional information to populate Compass’ menus, MyFitnessPal app, and dining websites for its college/university operations. Ingryd Hernandez, product information manager at US Foods, discussed best practices for effectively working with data pools, and how to develop and maintain a more collaborative, mutually beneficial relationship with trading partners over the long-term.
Coca-Cola / Dot Foods Discuss GS1 Standards during “Foodservice 2015 and Beyond”
During a session titled “Foodservice 2015 and Beyond,” Benedict Shanley, VP of distribution management at The Coca-Cola Company, and Dick Tracy, EVP of foodservice at Dot Foods, discussed a “sunrise campaign” launched at the beginning of 2014 that encourages a final push for adoption. The presentation included real world details on how GS1 Standards can help foodservice industry members improve product information, reduce inefficiencies, improve food safety and traceability, cut waste, improve inventory tracking to facilitate faster recalls, and adhere to changing local and federal food safety regulations. As of May 2014, there were 3,017 GDSN data pool subscribers (2943 sources and 74 recipients). Also as of May, the number of synchronized GTIN’s reached 491,000, an increase of more than 275 percent since July 2012.
To download presentations from this year’s conference, click here.
If you are a manufacturer, operator, or distributor interested in taking part in the GS1 US Standards Initiative, contact Julie McGill, Industry Engagement Director, GS1 US (312) 463-4032, firstname.lastname@example.org