Traceability & Sustainability Among 2023 Foodservice Predictions

Suppliers should also embrace digitization, prepare for in-person audits, and be ready to manage a food safety crisis.
sustainable products

BETHESDA, Md. — Consumers want to know where their food is coming from in 2023.

Food traceability has been on the rise for a while, but demand for it has taken off significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and especially over the past year, according to Novolyze.

Although the food industry may have taken traceability for granted in the past, it is now vital, as consumers care about food possibly more than ever before, according to the company, which works with food production companies to increase efficiencies by digitizing food safety and quality processes.

In 2023, interest in and emphasis on traceability are expected to grow.

Other predictions for the new year from Novolyze Founder and CEO Karim-Franck Khinouche include:

Sustainability should be a priority: The real business value of sustainability will come to light in 2023. The food industry will likely realize the value in working more towards sustainable production, and as it continues to accept sustainability targets, data will be used to measure how brands are doing when it comes to sustainability. Those who don't put sustainability front and center will be left behind.

Suppliers should be better prepared for audits: With a sense of normalcy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic now in place, food plant audits are taking place in-person at an increasing rate. Accordingly, there will likely be a higher number of recalls as auditors catch things that may have otherwise slipped past in virtual audits. With plants now fully functional, it is critical to ensure everything is in order.

Technology will continue to bridge the labor shortage gap: Last year, the labor shortage was a major story across a wide range of sectors, and within the food industry the average age of a quality assurance manager is higher than ever. Technology such as AI and machine learning will likely be a key factor in helping the industry make up for the labor shortage that persists today.

It's important to keep a crisis manager near: Social media will continue to play a major role in food-related crises, making it critical to have a crisis manager who knows how to handle the ins and outs of social media in the coming year.

There will be more digitization: Overall, the food safety industry is taking its time to adopt AI and digitize as many different areas as possible. Roughly half of the industry currently utilizes AI in some way, and while many industry insiders envision a massive digitization product that prompts a full overhaul of the industry, it is better practice to use AI and machine learning to solve specific problems bit by bit, according to Khinouche. Food plants are becoming more and more digitally focused, and 2023 will likely see an even bigger digitization push in the food industry.