Grocery Manufacturers Association

Washington, DC, United States

Grocery Manufacturers Association

Washington, DC, United States

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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

Scientists and packaging companies have been working for years to develop technology that indicates spoilage in food and beverage products. Several years ago, researchers at the University of Rhode Island came up with heat-sensing UPC codes that would change color when a fresh product became too warm, indicating contamination. In 2014, Chinese researchers developed corn kernel-sized tags that could attach to packaging and change color when spoilage was present. These efforts, along with others, have yet to reach commercial viability since special sensors can be difficult to replicate in mass quantities, and at a cost that’s agreeable to manufacturers. For now, food and beverage companies rely on various “best by” and “sell by” claims to indicate product freshness. But these claims have proven to be a headache for consumers who have a hard time figuring out what many of them mean. What does a “better if used by” date indicate? Does a “sell by” date point out when a product will spoil? In fact, these dates indicate product quality rather than product safety; federal law only requires that baby food contain a spoilage date. In the absence of clear instructions, many consumers simply throw out food that’s nearing or has reached its on-pack date. This creates vast amounts of food waste, according to organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, which estimates that people throw out a billion pounds of food each year due to label confusion. Developing clearer labels, organizations estimate, could reduce food waste in the U.S. by as much as 8%. Regulators and industry groups are working towards this goal. In December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Food Safety and Inspection Service recommended that manufacturers only use a “best if used by” label on meat, dairy and other fresh food packaging. The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, meanwhile, recommend two labels: “BEST If Used By" to signify product quality and "USE by" to indicate the safety of perishable products. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of these illnesses, likely caused by eating spoiled food, could be prevented with packaging that alerts the consumer.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

Scientists and packaging companies have been working for years to develop technology that indicates spoilage in food and beverage products. Several years ago, researchers at the University of Rhode Island came up with heat-sensing UPC codes that would change color when a fresh product became too warm, indicating contamination. In 2014, Chinese researchers developed corn kernel-sized tags that could attach to packaging and change color when spoilage was present. These efforts, along with others, have yet to reach commercial viability since special sensors can be difficult to replicate in mass quantities, and at a cost that’s agreeable to manufacturers. For now, food and beverage companies rely on various “best by” and “sell by” claims to indicate product freshness. But these claims have proven to be a headache for consumers who have a hard time figuring out what many of them mean. What does a “better if used by” date indicate? Does a “sell by” date point out when a product will spoil? In fact, these dates indicate product quality rather than product safety; federal law only requires that baby food contain a spoilage date. In the absence of clear instructions, many consumers simply throw out food that’s nearing or has reached its on-pack date. This creates vast amounts of food waste, according to organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, which estimates that people throw out a billion pounds of food each year due to label confusion. Developing clearer labels, organizations estimate, could reduce food waste in the U.S. by as much as 8%. Regulators and industry groups are working towards this goal. In December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Food Safety and Inspection Service recommended that manufacturers only use a “best if used by” label on meat, dairy and other fresh food packaging. The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, meanwhile, recommend two labels: “BEST If Used By" to signify product quality and "USE by" to indicate the safety of perishable products. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of these illnesses, likely caused by eating spoiled food, could be prevented with packaging that alerts the consumer.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

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.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

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.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

In 2016, a revamped Nutrition Facts Panel was released with designs to better highlight some of the ingredients that consumers are buying, but even though things are clearer on the labels, there’s still much confusion about the health benefits. People are just overwhelmed by conflicting food and nutrition information. It also doesn't help that an ingredient can be good for you one day, and unhealthy the next. While surveys show people appreciate the extra information and clearer explanations, many consumers still don’t understand what things mean. A new proposed label highlights the calorie count on products, both enlarging it and bold-facing it. The survey showed 77% of respondents said they rely on friends and family for both nutrition and food safety information, but that’s not always the smartest way to learn the truth. Some manufacturers are using their social media pages to better educate consumers about what’s in their products. Others are including more information in their marketing campaigns. Compounding the problem is that many consumers perceive what is healthy and unhealthy in different ways. In many cases, shoppers associate where they buy a product with its perceived healthiness, such as a convenience store versus a health food store. This only adds to the confusion. The Grocery Manufacturers Association has tried to help with a SmartLabel where consumers can scan a growing number of product to find out information such as calories, saturated fats and sugars. Regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are trying to clear up at least some of the confusion when it comes to terms such as healthy. In March, the FDA heard many of the complexities behind an outdated definition for healthy at a pubic hearing. The agency defined healthy for use on food labels in 1994. But as Kind Snacks found out when it got a warning notice from the FDA two years ago over the amount of saturated fat in several of its bars, that definition is a bit outdated. Shoppers have certain expectations for claims like "natural" and "healthy," terms that don't always have officially regulated definitions. As consumers flock to healthier, less processed foods, labels will be a major part of that migration. As this study indicates, more needs to be done to help confused shoppers.


News Article | May 27, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

Grocery retailers would rather sell food than throw it away, but effectively merchandising food that’s nearing its expiration date — or in this case, its “best before” date — is challenging. Consumers are very wary of these dates even though in both Canada and the U.S. they indicate freshness and quality more than food safety. For retailers, calling attention to surplus food, even through steep discounts, can look bad. As a result, most retailers play it safe and take products off shelves that have passed their peak of freshness. Produce and meat often get repurposed by the prepared foods and deli departments, while packaged goods are often donated to food banks. There’s also quite a bit that goes into landfills. A study by Champions 12.3, a coalition of retailers, manufacturers, advocates and government entities, noted businesses lose a collective $940 billion annually on food waste. What makes Flashfood interesting is it targets shoppers who are interested in buying surplus products at low prices. Its instant notifications and same-day turnaround mean transactions are efficient, and users can feel reassured that by flagging items for discount, retailers have deemed the food safe to consume. Most importantly, the app allows grocers to make money off surplus products that would otherwise amount to a loss. The challenge is getting people to sign up. Flashfood offers point-of-sale information at store pickup points, including catchy messaging about waste reduction (tagline: “Reducing surplus food, together”) and directions to download its app. Still, the service is asking people to overcome the very ingrained habit of avoiding food that’s anything less than fresh. In the U.S., regulators and industry groups are working to streamline what’s become a collection of ambiguous expiration labels. In December, the U.S. Agriculture Department recommended manufacturers only use a “best if used by” label on meat, dairy and other fresh food packaging. The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association recommend two labels: “BEST If Used By" to signify product quality and "USE by" to indicate the safety of perishable products. Organizations estimate these steps could cut food waste by as much as 8%, and it could increase awareness of the issue with consumers which could benefit a service like Flashfood. Overall, awareness of food waste and the arbitrariness of expiration dates is increasing in the U.S. and abroad. Retailers are catching on, with “ugly produce” promotions at supermarkets like Hy-Vee and Whole Foods. Two years ago, Daily Table, a nonprofit retailer that sells food diverted from other retailers and manufacturers, launched in the Boston area. In March, The Good Food opened in Germany, offering a pay-what-you-want model for its collection of surplus food.


News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

Grocery retailers would rather sell food than throw it away, but effectively merchandising food that’s nearing its expiration date — or in this case, its “best before” date — is challenging. Consumers are very wary of these dates even though in both Canada and the U.S. they indicate freshness and quality more than food safety. For retailers, calling attention to surplus food, even through steep discounts, can look bad. As a result, most retailers play it safe and take products off shelves that have passed their peak of freshness. Produce and meat often get repurposed by the prepared foods and deli departments, while packaged goods are often donated to food banks. There’s also quite a bit that goes into landfills. A study by Champions 12.3, a coalition of retailers, manufacturers, advocates and government entities, noted businesses lose a collective $940 billion annually on food waste. What makes Flashfood interesting is it targets shoppers who are interested in buying surplus products at low prices. Its instant notifications and same-day turnaround mean transactions are efficient, and users can feel reassured that by flagging items for discount, retailers have deemed the food safe to consume. Most importantly, the app allows grocers to make money off surplus products that would otherwise amount to a loss. The challenge is getting people to sign up. Flashfood offers point-of-sale information at store pickup points, including catchy messaging about waste reduction (tagline: “Reducing surplus food, together”) and directions to download its app. Still, the service is asking people to overcome the very ingrained habit of avoiding food that’s anything less than fresh. In the U.S., regulators and industry groups are working to streamline what’s become a collection of ambiguous expiration labels. In December, the U.S. Agriculture Department recommended manufacturers only use a “best if used by” label on meat, dairy and other fresh food packaging. The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association recommend two labels: “BEST If Used By" to signify product quality and "USE by" to indicate the safety of perishable products. Organizations estimate these steps could cut food waste by as much as 8%, and it could increase awareness of the issue with consumers which could benefit a service like Flashfood. Overall, awareness of food waste and the arbitrariness of expiration dates is increasing in the U.S. and abroad. Retailers are catching on, with “ugly produce” promotions at supermarkets like Hy-Vee and Whole Foods. Two years ago, Daily Table, a nonprofit retailer that sells food diverted from other retailers and manufacturers, launched in the Boston area. In March, The Good Food opened in Germany, offering a pay-what-you-want model for its collection of surplus food.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

Back in 2011, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute unveiled the “Facts Up Front” nutrition labeling program, which moved key information such as calories and sodium levels to the front of packages.This allowed consumers to access nutrition information more easily, a move the two organizations promoted as something that could lead to healthier lifestyles. Many industry observers, however, saw the initiative as way of heading off the Food and Drug Administration, which had been developing its own more stringent front-of-pack labeling system. Several years later, manufacturers are still focused on health initiatives and nutrition labeling — but mainly because consumers are demanding it. Companies like Nestle, Mars and Hershey are phasing out artificial and genetically modified ingredients. They’re also looking for ways to cut calories and reduce sugar in their products. Several years ago, Mars reduced the size of its candy bars, lopping off more than a trillion calories in the process. In 2016, Nestle announced its scientists had restructured sugar in a way that delivered 40% fewer calories without impacting taste. That Facts Up Front program, meanwhile, has been adopted by numerous candy manufacturers without impacting sales. Some groups argue that the program is more about marketing than about public health, but the FDA seems satisfied with the effort. Considering all of this, it makes sense for Hershey to expand its labeling and calorie-reduction initiatives. Consumers aren’t looking for a “healthy” candy bar, per se. They still want to indulge. But they are looking for transparency, cleaner ingredients and a few more sensible options to choose from.


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.fooddive.com

The urge to consolidate may be tempting for major food and beverage manufacturers struggling with slowing growth and competition from nimble upstarts, but being bigger is not be the only answer. The food and beverage industry has been hit by a few mega-mergers in recent years, including the deals that brought together Kraft and Heinz and Anheuser Busch and InBev. Other proposed deals have failed to close, led by Mondelez’s pursuit of Hershey and Kraft Heinz’s $143 billion takeover bid this February for Unilever. Analysts have speculated more deals could be in the works involving Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills, Campbell Soup and Kellogg — all of whom could be acquisition targets or on the lookout to buy a company themselves. While mergers are likely to continue, long-term growth must also include internal innovation and a willingness to work with other companies in ways that may have been unheard of in the past, Randolph Burt, a partner at A.T. Kearney, told the audience at the Grocery Manufacturers Association's Science Forum last week. “Consolidation will probably continue to occur but consolidation by itself is not going to allow large manufacturers to get on-trend from a consumer standpoint,” Burt said. “There may be another 3G acquisition. There may be consolidation for others, but it’s not going to solve the growth problem fundamentally, these kind of scale purchases. So we think that manufacturers and brands are going to have to look for other avenues.” Brazilian private-equity firm 3G Capital Partners, a big player in the U.S. food industry, and Warren Buffett-owned Heinz helped orchestrate the condiment maker's 2015 merger with Kraft. It is widely believed on Wall Street that 3G is itching to make another deal. In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Burt acknowledged while some companies may put too much faith in a merger to promote growth, "the idea that consolidation is going to create a healthier business is flawed.” Most firms are aware of the risk of depending too much on large deals, he said, leaving them on the lookout for smaller transactions, intrinsic growth and other unique partnerships. He pointed to the agreement between AB InBev and Keurig to develop a beer K-cup as one notable example. Kraft Heinz and AB InBev have turned to mergers, followed by significant cost-cutting, in an attempt to become more profitable. For some, the concern is once all the costs have been rung out of the new company, there is no choice but to turn to another transaction for growth — just as Kraft Heinz tried to do with the Unilever proposal. Nestle CEO Ulf Mark Schneider warned earlier this month that food and beverage companies too focused on cutting costs will undermine their growth prospects. “Many companies are focusing on radical cost-cutting to deliver higher profits in the short-term,” Schneider said in his first appearance at Nestle’s annual shareholder meeting. “This approach is not sustainable.” The food and beverage industry is not only facing slowing growth, but intense competition from upstarts who are able to tailor their products to the latest food trends such as free-from, fresh and local and high in proteins or other ingredients. “It’s not just ticking one of those boxes," Sara Mortimore, vice president of product safety, quality and regulatory affairs with Land O'Lakes, told the GMA audience. "You have to be thinking about all of them and the relevancy of your product for the future and how you shift and become and stay relevant. Some of us as manufacturers struggle with that big asset base.” Large food manufacturers have turned to incubators to buy stakes in startups — most notably, General Mills, which through its 301 INC venture capital unit, has invested in probiotic-startup Farmhouse Culture, Rhythm Superfoods, known for its kale, beet and broccoli chips, and D’s Naturals, the maker of low-sugar, plant-based No Cow protein bars and low-sugar, protein-infused nut butters. Chicken, beef and pork producer Tyson Foods even owns a 5% stake in plant-based protein company Beyond Meat. During a discussion at the GMA Science Forum, officials from Cargill, Mondelez and Land O’Lakes acknowledged they haven’t done enough to tell their stories and communicate with consumers. For decades, companies have promoted their products predominately through the usual media formats. The rapid growth of personal computers and mobile devices connected to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has forced food and beverage giants to become more active online and engaged with the public through channels like social media, but the industry said more needs to be done. "We need to think more about how do we tell the story to drive value and connect with our audience," said Mike Robach, vice president of corporate food safety, quality and regulatory affairs with Cargill. The food industry would benefit from standard definitions of terms like natural or local — all of which are open to different interpretations across the industry — that can be used by companies to promote their products to shoppers. Food manufacturers also must be willing to be more transparent and open their doors to verification from their critics. "It's really more about the message right now," Robach added. "If it comes from [the industry], it's automatically distrusted." With all the information being shared — much of it online — consumers are struggling to figure out what's right or good for them, Land O'Lakes' Mortimore said. Corporate America as a whole, including food, has struggled to break through the noise. “They really want to know — is this real, am I being fleeced or is this hogwash about what this company’s talking about?" she said. "Is it really authentic?"


SALT LAKE CITY, April 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Park City Group’s ReposiTrak, Inc., the leading provider of Compliance Management and Track & Trace solutions for food, pharma and dietary supplement safety, announces Robert Maldonado, Director of Quality Assurance & Food Safety at Northgate Gonzalez Markets, will join Shawn Stevens, food industry consultant, lawyer and co-founder of Food Industry Counsel, LLC, to speak at this year’s Trading Partner Alliance (TPA) Conference on May 1st in San Diego. Their breakout session, titled “Contracting with a New Trading Partner?  Learn Nine Ways to Reduce Your Risk BEFORE the First Shipment While Expediting the Sourcing Process,” will share best practices and first-hand experiences.  Stevens will review a recommended checklist of documents to require, actions to take and things to consider when contracting with new vendors. Maldonado will then walk through the new vendor sourcing process at Northgate Gonzalez Markets and share how they use ReposiTrak to increase speed in vetting new vendors while expanding their requirements to reduce risk. The TPA Supply Chain Conference  brings together all sides of the value chain to foster stronger relationships, streamline logistics, effectively manage activities, explore new process options and increase efficiency – all leading to innovation and reduction in costs. The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) joined together as the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA), are pleased to host the annual Supply Chain Conference. Now in its eighth year, over 500 retailers, manufacturers, and technology solution providers will convene for a joint conference filled with idea-stimulating educational sessions, interactive exhibits with the latest technology and relationship-building networking opportunities. “We are delighted that Robert is able to join Shawn at the podium to discuss how Northgate Gonzalez Markets has put their learnings in contracting with new vendors into practice with ReposiTrak,” said Randy Fields, Chairman and CEO of Park City Group.  “From our experience, it’s vitally important that new vendors be fully vetted at the contract stage of a new relationship and before a new purchase order is ever cut.” ReposiTrak, a wholly owned subsidiary of Park City Group (NASDAQ:PCYG), helps manage regulatory, financial and brand risk associated with issues of safety in the global food, pharma and dietary supply chains. Powered by Park City Group’s technology, the platform consists of two systems:  Compliance Management, which not only receives, stores and shares documentation, but also manages compliance through dashboards and alerts for missing or expired documents; and Track & Trace, which quickly identifies product ingredients and their supply chain path in the unfortunate event of a product recall. It can reduce the risk in the supply chain by identifying backward chaining sources and forward chaining recipients of products in near real time. About ReposiTrak ReposiTrak, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Park City Group (NASDAQ:PCYG) and was co-founded with Leavitt Partners. ReposiTrak® provides food retailers and suppliers with a robust solution to help them protect their brands and remain in compliance with the rapidly evolving regulations in the Food Safety Modernization Act.  Additionally, ReposiTrak enables traceability as products and their ingredients move between trading partners and now helps customers source new compliant suppliers and drive sales through MarketPlace.  More information is available at www.repositrak.com.                                                                              About Park City Group                                                       Park City Group (PCYG) is a Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) provider that brings unique visibility to the consumer goods supply chain, delivering actionable information to ensure products are available when and where consumers demand them, helping retailers and suppliers to ‘Sell More, Stock Less, and See Everything’. Park City Group’s technology also assists all participants in the food and drug supply chains to comply with food and drug safety regulations through the Company’s ReposiTrak subsidiary. More information is available at www.parkcitygroup.com.

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