Demystifying Fresh Food Hot Topics: Consignments, Traceability and Blockchain

As consumer behavior changes, certain topics are trending within the fresh food industry. The top 3 are consigment management, traceability, and blockchain.

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    As consumers and retailers become more and more interested in the origin of the food that they consume or sell, there are certainly a lot of hot topics within fresh food production. The top three in our minds are:

    Hot Topic #1: Consignment Management

    Fresh Produce companies are highly concerned with consignment management both at home and abroad. Naturally enough, you want to have access to the status of these consignments, wherever and whenever. Is there still enough in stock? Which cost items have been booked on the consignment? Can the consignment be removed from the system?

    You also need to be able to determine the profitability of an individual consignment. What happened to it after washing, grating, or spitting? Was the quality high or low? Did it end up being sold whole or did it go into a prepared salad packet? What was the shipping cost? What about the cost of repacking it, the labor to prepare? Consignment allocates cost for all of these scenarios and every step along the way, so that you can build a profitability picture of each individual consignment.

    Consignment management also ties into traceability, our next hot topic.

    Hot Topic #2: Traceability

    More and more farms are looking for automated traceability and business analytics that show a detailed description of where produce has been shipped and where it came from—critically important for compliance and recall management. In building a consignment picture, you can also build a full picture of traceability when it comes to fresh food. For instance, if the original product was assigned “A1,” and it was packed into consignment “B,” you can link those with traceability. When growers submit traceability information to retailers, that information needs to travel with the consignment. Check out our webinar where we talk about traceability in more detail. With the combined power of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and LINKFRESH, fresh food distributors are equipped with audit-ready data to remain compliant with legislation and standards thanks to the produce traceability software. Velosio FRESH ensures food safety and quality assurance with real-time data capture and retrieval.

    LINKFRESH software dashboard

    LINKFRESH fresh produce software and Power BI

    Hot Topic #3: Blockchain

    Blockchain? What is it? Well, in short, it is sophisticated traceability and proof of provenance. Blockchain is increasingly being talked about within the Fresh Produce sector. Walmart’s recent announcement mandating the use of the IBM ‘Fabric’ Blockchain solution for ‘leafy greens’ by 2020 has certainly increased the buzz factor.

    IBM’s Fabric solution is one of several solutions currently under development. Some say that, as it is based on multiple servers, it is expensive, particularly for Fresh Produce, even though IBM is currently saying it is ‘free at the point of data entry’ and they only plan to charge for ‘analysis and data extracts.’ But this, as with most Blockchain developments, seems to be fluid and emerging. Walmart’s early enthusiasm has everyone’s attention, but it is worth noting that Walmart has a history of starting such initiatives and then quietly withdrawing them… so many are skeptical.

    According to Gartner: “Blockchain is developing quickly, but significant business challenges and technology gaps remain before widespread use cases and ways to generate value emerge. CIOs are under pressure to guide decisions on if and how they should implement blockchain but struggle with how to apply this technology to meet new business challenges.”

    Velosio partner LINKFRESH is working with its clients, Giumarra, Dole and Total Produce, which are actively involved in Blockchain. LINKFRESH also sits on the PMA ‘Blockchain Task Force,’ and is part of the industry dialogue, contributing and learning. As it seems that there will be several different Blockchain options for some time to come, the strategy at LINKFRESH is to use Blockchain Middleware, providing one interface to the middleware which in turn manages the actual interface to each of the current providers. So, as Blockchain develops, LINKFRESH will track the developments, and will always be Blockchain ready. Having a solution built around Microsoft Dynamics makes interfacing with external solutions easy because inter-operability is at the heart of Dynamics technology. So we are able to deliver Blockchain enabled ERP, today, tomorrow and as it develops…in the future.

    To growers, packers or shippers of fresh fruit and vegetables, Velosio FRESH is the end-to-end solution that digitizes and modernizes operations, production and distribution from field to fork, and handles these three hot topics and more. Now you can have a single platform to automate manual tasks, provide traceability, streamline financial management and gain real-time visibility of your business. To learn more about Velosio FRESH, watch this recorded webcast.

    Best regards,

    Todd Waterman
    Industry Manager, Agribusiness, Velosio

    About Todd
    Todd Waterman has spent over 17 years in IT for Agribusiness, including at his own consulting firm, and as Chief Administration Officer for EuroAmerican Propogators in California. From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations, his knowledge of the agribusiness ecosystem and products helps Velosio customers Todd Watermanmaximize ROI on technology investments.

    Today, Todd serves Velosio customers in his role as Industry Manager for Agribusiness. Todd is based in sunny California, and received his BA from San Diego State University in San Diego, California.

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