December 26, 2022

Food safety predictions for 2023

Food safety and quality software company Novolyze predicts more consumer demand for food traceability, as well as increased industry digitization, in 2023.

Karim-Franck Khinouche, founder and CEO of the Bethesda, Maryland-based company, expects to see these and other trends in the new year.

Among the things Khinouche says the industry can expect in 2023:

Consumers will crave more traceability. Food traceability has been at the forefront for some time now, but we’ve seen it take off even more since the beginning of COVID-19, and in particular over the past year. Today, people care about their food perhaps more than ever before and want to know where it’s coming from – something the industry took for granted in the past. In the coming year, the industry can expect to see even more interest and emphasis on traceability.c

Make sustainability a priority. Sustainability is embedded within the food industry and has been for quite some time, even if it’s hardly mentioned. But in the coming year, I believe that sustainability’s real business value will come to light. Not only is it a good look in general, but it also has real value for shareholders. We’ll see a shift where the industry realizes the value in working more towards sustainable production. As the industry continues to accept sustainability targets, data will be used to measure how brands are doing when it comes to sustainability. Those who don’t put sustainability front-and-center in 2023 will be left behind.

Be better prepared for audits. Now that there is a sense of normalcy in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, food plant audits are increasingly taking place in-person and will continue to even more in the coming year. As a result, we can expect to see a higher number of recalls as auditors catch things that might have slipped by over the past several years of conducting audits virtually. With plants now fully functional, it’s critical to make sure everything is in order to ensure more seamless audits.

Technology will continue to bridge the labor shortage gap. Over the past year, the labor shortage was a major story in a wide range of sectors, including food safety. The average age of today’s Quality Assurance manager is higher than ever. It has become difficult to find qualified people who want to work in this industry. Next year, I expect technology such as AI and machine learning to be a key factor in helping the industry make up for the labor shortage that’s currently taking place.

Keep your crisis manager near. Social media will continue to play a big role in food-related crises. Today, the life of a food-related crisis is a roller coaster, thanks to the fast-paced and never-ending news cycle. Since there’s always another story around the corner, people often tend to move on quickly to the next story. While this is ultimately a good thing for food safety-related crises, it will be critical to have a crisis manager who knows how to handle the ins and outs of social media in the coming year.

More digitization. As a whole, the food safety industry is taking its time to adopt AI and digitize as many different areas as possible. Today, roughly half of the food safety industry utilizes AI in some way. Many industry folks fantasize about a massive digitization product that results in a full overhaul of the industry, when in fact it’s better practice to use AI and machine learning to solve specific problems bit by bit. Food plants are becoming more and more digitally focused. And next year, I expect an even bigger digitization push in the food industry.

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