The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many significant changes to the food industry. As pantry-loading and food delivery services became more and more prevalent, there is also an increasing need for improvements in supply chain visibility and traceability in order to foster greater confidence among the consumers.
The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to trace products throughout the supply chain is one solution that foodservice companies have considered. Incorporating RFID in the supply chain is nothing new. Industries like apparel businesses have already been using RFID technology to improve inventory visibility, especially in their retail operations.
With the successful implementations of RFID asset tracking systems in retail, entrepreneurs in the food industry are confident that using the technology will certainly boost efficiency and increase public confidence in food security and safety.
Read on to find out several ways that RFID can do these things.
1. RFID Can Improve Identification and Traceability
Identification and traceability are some of the most important benefits that RFID can bring to the supply chain. Identifying products through RFID tags will allow foodservice companies to know where their products are in real-time and how much stock they have in total. With RFID in place, companies can quickly identify each and every one of their food products, boxes, trays, and general merchandise.
Aside from quick identification, RFID can also help product handlers and consumers alike in identifying expiration dates, preferred consumption, variable weights, gross and net weights, and all other information related to the conditions of the products in the fastest and most efficient way. This enhances the traceability of the food products.
2. RFID Can Enhance Inventory Visibility
Minimising inventory uncertainty is another reason why RFID is essential for food service operations. For instance, if an RFID reader is utilised in a restaurant’s refrigerator, the personnel will automatically know whenever there is a sharp increase or decrease in a particular item because the reader automates the transmission of inventory data. In essence, food businesses can see how much product they have to fulfil consumer demand in real-time.
Apart from reducing uncertainty in inventory management, RFID can play an essential role in helping businesses intercept potentially harmful food products before they reach customers. The technology allows them to access updated intelligence on what is in stock, its expiry dates and allows them to take precautionary measures more quickly.
3. RFID Can Transform Food Distribution
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect how people acquire food, the food industry needs to innovate faster and become more digitally focused on addressing the consumers’ surging demands. For most food business owners, innovation is the only way to stay afloat during these difficult times. RFID is one of the most innovative solutions that foodservice companies can use to transform food distribution.
The efficiencies that many industries have already gained through the use of RFID can fuel evolving models for food distribution. From ensuring location-based accuracy for last-mile food delivery to servicing vending machines in essential locations like hospitals, the RFID technology can provide innovative solutions to ensure that people still get their food securely and safely in times of crisis.
The complete shift in consumer behaviour brought by the COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably highlight the need for improved traceability, inventory management, and distribution of food products. As more and more people opt for contactless options to obtain their food, foodservice companies need to find ways to continuously cater to the consuming public’s demands and needs while ensuring that food production and delivery remain secure and safe.
Fortunately, RFID technology can make it easier for the food industry to keep up with the changing times. By incorporating RFID into the supply chain, food service companies can enhance their traceability, inventory management, and food distribution. These improvements are necessary to keep and increase the public’s confidence in food safety, especially in these challenging times.