- Supply chain technology company FoodLogiQ has moved closer to its $8 million fundraising goal for this year, gaining a $4.25 million investment from venture capital firm Renewal Funds of Vancouver, British Columbia, according to Project NOSH. The company will use the funding to hire new employees across its sales, product development and engineering and marketing departments.
- Food LogiQ's Manage + Monitor software allows "retailers and food producers to track suppliers' audits, certificates and other legal documents and view them in real time." Hain Celestial Group and Whole Foods Market have joined a long list of FoodLogiQ customers in the past two years.
- CEO Dean Wiltse said in a statement that the partnership between the company and Renewal Funds "will accelerate FoodLogiQ’s mission to map the world’s food chain, make it as safe as possible and empower people to make informed decisions about the food they eat."
The cost of a foodborne illness outbreak can be staggering. A joint industry study by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association estimated the average cost of a recall for food companies to be $10 million in direct costs, plus brand damage and lost sales.
Worse by far is the potential human toll outbreaks can take. A 2006 E. coli outbreak linked to Dole bagged spinach sickened nearly 200 people and killed three, while a 2008 salmonella outbreak linked to the Peanut Corporation of America sickened more than 700, and is believed to have contributed to nine deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, around 1,600 people are infected with listeria each year, and about 260 of them die.
Manufacturers and retailers are increasingly investing in supply chain tracking technology to make sure they know when products come in, where they are, and what condition they're in so that problems that could lead to pathogen contamination are much less likely to crop up. This kind of traceability can help reduce the risk of outbreaks and greatly reduce their impact.
FoodLogiQ's approach uses dashboards and customized programs to help companies develop their systems. For example, Whole Foods uses the company's software to track sustainability programs and food producer ratings.
Devastating illness outbreaks and recalls have motivated food companies and retailers to do more upfront testing. The Food Safety Modernization Act is also mandating more preventive testing, and is expanding the Food and Drug Administration’s role in setting and enforcing safety standards. Companies in a position to quickly and accurately identify and remove problems in their supply chain will benefit by reducing unnecessary risk.