New tracker could boost efficiency and speed of a food recall

Dive Brief:

  • Traceability software company FoodLogiQ unveiled a new computer-based platform that provides for recall and stock withdrawal management, intended to help manufacturers, distributors and retailers quickly spread the message about food recalls and get affected products out of the distribution chain and off shelves.
  • Companies using the platform put their recall management plans into the system. When a recall occurs, the system launches automated communications about the recall by email, text or telephone that require confirmation. The new system also can automatically escalate any communication link that is responding slowly. The speed, spread and numbers of the recall effort will display on a real-time dashboard.
  • “The food industry finally has a solution that can provide the speed, accuracy and single source of truth that are mission critical during a recall,” CEO Dean Wiltse said in a written statement. "With our traceability and recall technology, food companies can confidently make decisions, protect their brand while documenting and recording every step of the process to demonstrate to regulators — and their Board of Directors — their precise and timely handling of the issue.”

Dive Insight:

According to a joint industry study by the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association, the average cost for a recall is about $10 million in direct costs. And that's just the money involved. Brand reputation damage and lost sales — both of which can be substantial — are not considered in this estimate.

Regaining consumer trust in a product is key after a recall. If consumers can't trust a product, they are likely to buy something else. A Harris Interactive poll showed 55% of consumers will switch brands temporarily after a recall, while 15% will give the brand up entirely, and 21% would boycott that brand's manufacturer.

In order to rebuild that trust, speed and transparency are key. Consumers want to know that everyone involved in the supply chain has done everything they can to prevent others from buying the recalled product. And while manufacturers, distributors and especially retailers have quite a bit of experience in quick mobilization once a recall is announced, an automated system can make the process easier. In addition, looking at a real-time dashboard, which shows the number of people contacted, units of products removed, time elapsed, people contacted and completion rate is an easy way to know how smoothly the recall is going.

As the industry places a greater focus on prevention, now voluntarily recalling products that may be contaminated but haven't sickened anyone and doing more to avert contamination through the Food Safety Modernization Act, recalls will continue. Anything that can boost efficiency to keep consumers safe and maintain their trust in manufacturers and retailers should be welcomed.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Grocery Food Safety