– CONTRIBUTED Opinion –
By Francine L. Shaw
Blockchain technology is not a new concept for the restaurant industry. Before the pandemic, those of us in the industry discussed blockchain technology, traceability, transparency, sustainability, digital technology and food safety and its impact on the green revolution every day. . Then COVID happened, and some of that talk and movement seemed to take a back seat or even stop. The conferences stopped. The collaborations were complex – in the beginning.
Behind the scenes, many dreamers and developers have continued to move forward. A person’s typical daily life has changed so much that it has given people more time in the digital space to research, test and develop new technologies. And that’s what they did.
Over the next few years, we will see technological trends emerge that we once thought were decades away. Digital is no longer an option. It is a necessity.
Software as a Service (SaaS) allows users to connect and use cloud-based applications over the Internet. The most common are email services, calendar services, and mass email providers. SaaS products offer a complete software solution purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider. This service is the most popular way for most businesses to do business today. You could say that this is the hottest new trend of recent years and it is certainly practical. Before SaaS, getting information quickly and efficiently was much more difficult. The thing about digital is that there is always a story. You cannot erase it. Even if you press ‘delete’, the information remains and the regulators will find it.
Wireless monitoring sensors capable of monitoring temperature and humidity will be a big trend in the coming year, saving businesses money on food and energy waste. The supply chain has many moving parts, each with its own impact on the environment. The cold chain is no exception. It is estimated that the cold chain is responsible for 3 to 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. Considering that 40 percent of all food requires refrigeration and 15 percent of the electricity used worldwide is for refrigeration, this should come as no surprise. Cold chain emissions come from three sources: food waste, electricity and of course refrigerants. BCG conducted a study that found that $ 120 billion worth of food supplies are wasted each year due to poor storage and handling.
Blockchain technologies, which we have been discussing for a few years, are closer than we think. Transparency, traceability and sustainability are vital for everyone in the industry. The FDA has defined four fundamental elements in the New Era Blueprint for Smarter Food Safety, and the first of those elements is technological traceability.
Traceability processes are essential to ensure that all food products are traced and tracked throughout the supply chain. Traceability is essential for food safety as well as operational efficiency. With a strong traceability program, it is possible to locate a product at any point in the food chain within the supply chain, literally from farm to fork. For this technology to work well, it must be user-friendly and affordable for everyone, large and small. When available and widely used, it will reduce outbreaks of foodborne illness and significantly help speed up the process of finding the source in the event of an outbreak.
Affordable digital technology connecting buyers with verified and validated sellers is at the forefront. This technology will reduce buyer search time and facilitate social and environmental sourcing, helping more businesses buy locally with confidence.
SaaS restaurant assessment and inspection apps have become much more user-friendly and affordable. These applications can transfer valuable information to supervisors in real time. In the event of a critical violation, the supervisor can follow up to ensure corrective action has been taken, thus avoiding a possible crisis.
SaaS products have been a digital blessing for the restaurant industry. Data pipelines will continue to be an essential part of doing business and will become even more mainstream as the digital world continues to explode. A few years ago, many people didn’t even know what data integration was. Now I’m part of the trend, helping to develop SaaS products that must have the ability to integrate.
Data integration has already become the backbone of many businesses as it enables the integration of excessive amounts of data from various sources. This data can then be extracted at different points to collect information and perform analysis. This process is crucial because it means that businesses can challenge data that has been processed at a specific point in a variety of ways without starting over from the beginning.
And none of these trends would be nothing without data analysis. I don’t know anyone in this industry who doesn’t like a nice pie chart or a nice graphic. Almost all applications developed have at least minimal scans as part of the system.
Today, analysis and integration are key components of most foodservice products.
About the Author: Francine L. Shaw is CEO of Savvy Food Safety & TracSavvy, co-founder of My Food Source and expert in food safety. Shaw’s diverse background includes over 20 years in the restaurant industry. Shaw is an international speaker who serves as an advisor to businesses and has been featured as a food safety expert in numerous media including BBC World Series Radio, Huffington Post, iHeartRadio, Food Safety News, Food Management Magazine, Food Fanatics, Food Service Consultants Society International, and more. She is the author of over 200 published articles on food security.
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