If there’s one thing France hasn’t experienced a shortage of recently, it’s supply chain issues. The pandemic affected food and drink availability in a number of ways, from issues with growth and production to a shortage of delivery vehicles. This has caused a number of issues for food and beverage manufacturers, who are struggling to keep up with demand as a supplier while also experiencing issues in their own supply chains.
The wine shortage in 2021, caused by unseasonably cold weather in key wine-growing regions, has also had a serious impact given France is the second-largest wine producer in the world. The l’Association Nationale des Produits Alimentaires attributed current and future expected shortages to price rises throughout the supply chain.
It’s clear that we’re likely to experience more supply chain issues in the near future. But there are ways food and beverage manufacturers can mitigate these risks. Here, we’ll explore the options.
Protect your existing supplies and production
At a time when food production is affected by issues such as the weather, protecting existing resources is essential. Many food manufacturers have had to recall products because of avoidable issues in the factory. Food manufacturing powerhouse Kraft Heinz made global headlines when it had to recall over 1.2 million containers of cottage cheese because they weren’t stored at the correct temperature.
Equipment maintenance is essential to prevent unnecessary product spoilage and recalls. Many manufacturers will operate on a reactive maintenance model, only maintaining machinery when it fails. Instead, switching to proactive maintenance and checking equipment regularly can help to identify issues before they become a problem. Predictive maintenance technologies are now more commonplace too and will monitor the health of systems automatically.
Food contamination is also an issue that can result in recalls and even affect the health of end consumers. It was reported in 2021 that foodborne illnesses increased between 2018 and 2019, with salmonella topping the list of pathogens. There are a range of processes that can threaten the hygiene of food – from handlers not washing their hands to unsanitary cabling. Many manufacturers use stainless steel goulottes métalliques because they’re easy to clean and decontaminate.
Diversify your suppliers
Access to, and costs of, the raw materials needed to make foodstuff is a key issue right now. it’s essential for manufacturers to diversify their suppliers in the wake of supply chain disruptions. If you rely on one or two suppliers for one key ingredient and they experience issues, you’ll feel this more acutely.
In the wake of COVID-19’s dramatic impact on small businesses, while global behemoths like Amazon increased their profits, we’ve seen a shift towards prioritising local businesses. To encourage this, the government introduced click and collect services for small businesses that didn’t have the resource to set up an ecommerce presence.
The same should go for businesses looking for new suppliers. Small businesses need support, and local suppliers can offer more security to your business because they’re more easily accessible. What’s more, with a renewed focus on sustainability in France in 2022, going local can boost a business’ green credentials.
Support the elimination of food waste
Consumer food waste is a real problem worldwide, but especially in France. Despite a number of legislations in place to prevent food waste, research by Statista has shown that bread is one of the food items French consumers waste the most often. The survey found that 16% of consumers were throwing bread away at least once a week. Given that flour is an ingredient that has soared in price, throwing away its end product is costly.
At a time of food shortages and soaring prices, the nation should be focusing on reducing food waste. France is a global leader in the reduction of business food waste, as well as helping consumers to recycle applicable soiled food. The government and businesses can build on this platform with educational campaigns on reducing the amount of food that is thrown away or recycled.
Food manufacturers can play their part too. Packaging should include information on how best to store the food, as well as tips on making it last longer – such as storing unused bread in the freezer, transferring dried food to airtight glass containers, and putting fresh herbs in water.
France’s supply chain issues are set to continue into 2022. While it’ll be difficult to completely prevent shortages and price fluctuations, there are a number of steps that food manufacturers can take to mitigate these issues and ensure they can continue to provide essential resources for businesses and consumers alike.