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With 30-40% of the food supply going to waste and food and beverage being the most targeted sector for theft, averaging losses at $214,000 per incident, it’s a tough road for shippers. Overcoming these food and beverage supply chain challenges requires innovative solutions and industry expertise. 

This article will explore the three most common challenges in food and beverage supply chain management, provide valuable insights into potential tech solutions, and empower shippers to optimize their supply chain management. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting in the industry, understanding these challenges will inform and educate you on the critical aspects of food and beverage supply chain management.

Three Challenges Facing Food and Beverage Shippers

Shippers face three significant challenges in today’s complex food and beverage supply chain: ensuring food safety, combatting rising cargo theft, and achieving supply chain visibility for perishable goods. 

1. Challenges of Food Safety and Compliance

The CDC estimates nearly fifty million people in the United States get sick from foodborne illness each year. While foodborne illnesses can derive from many points, failure to sanitize trucks and breaks in the cold chain, such as leaving products on a dock too long, can all contribute to this challenge. These risks are why it is so critical for food products to adhere to stringent regulations to maintain their integrity throughout the supply chain. 

The FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) sets new sanitary requirements for shippers, loaders, carriers, and receivers to protect public health while maintaining feasibility for companies. Under this rule, shippers bear primary responsibility for determining appropriate transportation operations. They must develop written procedures to ensure sanitary conditions, and that cargo is free from any potential hazards caused by previous shipments, including perishable food items that require temperature control.

With over 35 years of experience, Logistics Group International (LGI) is here to help shippers navigate the complexities of food safety, theft prevention, and supply chain visibility. Request a free quote from LGI today to relieve the stress of food and beverage shipping.

2. Rise of Cargo Theft in the Food and Beverage Supply Chain

Thieves aren’t just after iPhones and other expensive electronics. Rising inflation is making food theft more attractive. In Q2 2023, the logistics and shipping industry experienced a startling uptick in cargo theft incidents, totaling nearly 600, as the average value per stolen shipment skyrocketed to $260,703—up nearly $100,000 from the previous year.

Freight theft, led by food and beverage products, continues to surge across the U.S., with California, Texas, and Illinois making up more than half of theft in the second quarter of 2023. The trucking industry is turning to theft and fraud prevention networks to combat thieves, promoting awareness and leaning on technology to deter criminals and recover lost cargo. 

3. Supply Chain Visibility and Traceability

Visibility and traceability in the food and beverage supply chain are essential for ensuring product quality and freshness throughout the process. One of the main challenges is tracking product freshness. This is especially critical for perishables, where even slight variations in temperature or handling can spoil the goods. Adopting real-time tracking solutions can facilitate better coordination among multiple stakeholders, from producers to retailers, making it easier to react promptly to disruptions, including cargo theft.

Shippers can protect the quality of their goods and the security of their entire supply chain by focusing on comprehensive visibility and traceability measures.

Facing Significant Challenges, Food and Beverage Supply Chain Professionals Turn to the Experts

Shippers face many challenges in an industry as complex and time-sensitive as the food and beverage supply chain, from regulatory compliance to inventory management and supply chain visibility. Given the stakes involved — public health, loss of perishable goods, and regulatory fines, to name a few—industry professionals are increasingly turning to seasoned experts for tailored solutions and industry best practices

3PL providers bring a wealth of experience enhanced by technological solutions driving the future of food and beverage logistics. Employing the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain technology has revolutionized supply chain visibility. Experts in the field can offer unprecedented tracking and monitoring capabilities by employing IoT devices like RFID tags, GPS sensors, and blockchain databases. These technologies enhance visibility and improve food safety by enabling real-time monitoring and immutable record-keeping.

The wealth of data generated by IoT and other tracking technologies is essential to optimize routes, improve scheduling, and forecast demand. These insights lead to operational efficiencies and cost savings, which provide a significant competitive advantage. By aligning with experts, companies have the added benefit of tapping into a network of vetted carriers, offering a broader range of options and competitive pricing.

There’s never been a better time for food and beverage supply chain professionals to leverage the expertise available in the industry. With the right partner, you can protect your shipments, comply with ever-changing regulations, and grow your business.

Overcoming the Challenges in Food and Beverage with LGI

Shippers in the food and beverage industry can make informed decisions to optimize their supply chain management by identifying the everyday challenges of food safety and compliance, cargo theft, and supply chain visibility and traceability. Embracing tech solutions and seeking expert guidance can help overcome these challenges and ensure a smooth and efficient supply chain process. Don’t let these hurdles hold you back – request a quote from LGI today and take control of your food and beverage supply chain operations.