The Top Food Safety Trends You Should Watch In 2022
With the pandemic changing how we dine out in more ways than we once thought possible, food safety has become the most important aspect of commercial food service. Alongside food safety, sustainability and supply chain normalization still take center stage as we navigate the uncertainties of the current economic situation. Producers and retailers are trying out different methods to address shortages and staffing issues, while customers are increasingly aware of their consumption patterns and their impact on the world at large. In this article, we look at the various food safety trends in response to the concerns faced by the industry at large during the third year of the pandemic.
Why is Food Safety Important?
Unsafe food causes over 600 million cases of foodborne disease and is attributed to over 400,000 deaths worldwide. Unsafe food is not only a health hazard but can also negatively impact your establishment’s reputation. While customer loss is a given, a lack of food safety can also lead to litigations, fines, and even potential closure of your business. The lack of food safety can lead to major disruptions in the supply chain, leading to dramatic changes in the market. With the pandemic throwing up several challenges to food safety, the industry has been reeling under the new variables put into play. Placing food safety at the forefront of your operation benefits both your customers and your business, while you run a safe, ethical, and reputable operation.
The Top Food Safety Trends of 2022
The first two years of the pandemic saw a dramatic shift in the way people eat out and how food is delivered to customers. This is because of increased transmission risk due to in-person contact. But as we slowly ease back into our pre-pandemic habits, it seems like many of the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are here to stay. While you must invest in the right restaurant equipment, food safety and sustainability are just as important. Here’s what we expect to be in focus in 2022:
Supply Chain Transparency
Consumer-driven supply chain transparency is a growing phenomenon that will continue to have an impact on farmers, manufacturers, packagers, and retailers. More customers want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced. This also will lead to increased regulations on imported food coming into the country while changing the way food is labeled, packaged, and distributed to the consumer.
The Increasing Popularity of Plant-based Alternatives
With the consistently increasing popularity of plant-based foods, restaurateurs and food manufacturers are looking to enhance their output of plant-based options in the market. With a lower carbon footprint and better affordability, plant-based intake is increasing steadily. Incorporating more plant-based foods aligns with both the sustainability goals and the ethical concerns of the industry. Whole-plant alternatives are also gaining steam, with manufacturers and food industry experts looking to minimize the amount of processing in current plant-based options.
Increased Self-awareness in Consumers & Mindful Food Choice
The modern customer looks to enjoy their food to the utmost, experiencing the various textures and flavors in the mix. This extends to enjoying the meal for the sake of nutrition and also for the experience, as in the case of family lunches or dinner with friends. Food safety experts can implement these approaches in the quality checks to ensure each consumer is not only nourished but is also enamored by the food they eat.
Home Deliveries Are Here to Stay
While home deliveries were on the rise even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the system saw a rapid increase during the pandemic. The global market for home deliveries is pegged at over 150 billion dollars and has more than doubled in the United States since the pandemic began. What started as a necessary alternative to keep businesses afloat will now remain an integral part of serving customers even beyond the pandemic.
Worker Shortages & Intuitive Solutions
With worker shortages plaguing the food industry, manufacturers and restaurateurs need to come up with unique solutions to make jobs in the industry more attractive. Slowdowns in immigration and worker rights concerns are some of the prime issues that are fuelling the current shortage. Enhancing perks, reducing workplace stress, implementing a streamlined workplace routine, and offering an exciting career to prospective employees are essential to assuring food safety across the supply chain.
Waste Less to Earn More
Wastage is now frowned upon, as it should be. From mitigating the supply chain issues to becoming more sustainable, food wastage has become a central issue for consumers and manufacturers alike. Using unaesthetic produce or expired yet safe and edible products is more in vogue now than ever before. This trend has also pushed restaurateurs and food retailers to source their products from local producers, allowing a boost to the local economy while ensuring food safety and slashing wastage.
Tech & Food Safety
With food safety concerns being a sustained factor in the second half of 2022, technology has an irreplaceable role in the industry as we tackle challenges. Here are some innovations at the forefront of guaranteeing food safety:
Improved & Automated Monitoring
Sensors in storage equipment have gained a lot of importance in recent years. These tools allow you to maintain the right temperature in refrigerators and cabinets so you can make necessary adjustments to avoid wastage and food safety concerns in stored raw material.
Labeling & Log Maintenance
Labeling prepared food using a codified system that includes details such as the time and date of preparation goes a long way in streamlining food safety. Maintaining logs that carry information about refrigerator monitoring and storage checks is just as essential.
Using ultraviolet light for decontamination is no new invention, however, the technology is slowly being primed for commercial use in the food industry. Implementation of UV decontamination will promote food safety by eliminating surface contaminants in meat & produce, and in clear liquid foods. Application of the technology across the industry will enable overall food safety enhancements.
Though born out of a need to improvise during the pandemic, these trends are bound to shape the industry’s outlook and main points of focus for several years to come. The implementation of these trends will ensure the establishment of a sustainable, safe, and low-waste food industry.