For the longest time, the food companies effectively operated food safety programs using manual ways of quality management. All these practices have served the food industry well, but food safety and quality management definitely needed an upgrade with the use of technology. Even before the pandemic, food industry trends and regulatory requirements were setting roadmaps for modernizing food safety and quality management with technology. Additionally, the industry needs more insights, more innovation, and more sophistication than manual systems.
As we still continue through the agonies of the pandemic, it’s massively clear that the tech-based future which the industry was planning is happening right now. It’s not just unavoidable but also imperative for the food industry to quickly adapt to the new food safety landscape.
Let’s explore a few trends that are accelerating modernization in the food industry:
- Change In Perspective From Reactive To Proactive Mindset
Always being reactive to any situation can be unreliable and can make it difficult to manage and mitigate risks for everyone. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared and to be more strategic for any future crises. This helps in being ready for any catastrophe that might hit your business on a local or global scale. Using technology to gather and analyze insights gives you the confidence to make data-based decisions.
- Empowering Employees To Be Quality Officers
There is a difference between just training your employees versus educating them. The pandemic has heightened awareness about safety and hygiene and therefore, the need for education for the same is required. When you train your employees, you teach them rules, but when you educate them, you teach them why a rule exists. In other words, when you’re educating your employees to identify and act on the right thing to do for the public as well as themselves – which is demonstrating quality officer behaviour. When every employee proactively pays attention to quality and compliance of safety and hygiene to fix it on time.
- A Rise In Virtual Audits And Self-assessment
Due to COVID-19, there has been an increase in virtual audits and self-assessment. These audits you a constant view of food safety initiatives instead of a single point-of-view. Even though corporate audits will still continue to be available, self-assessments and other evaluations help you glean more data and gain more visibility on a continual basis, especially if you use technology to store and analyze your data in one place.
- Real-time Monitoring Is Overtaking Manual And Point-in-time Audits
Manual Monitoring is helpful and can provide valuable data, but it’s impossible to get real-time views and insights into the safety and hygiene culture of your business with only a yearly audit. With safety being of prime importance and also with consumer awareness at its peak during a crisis like this, real-time monitoring will keep a track of your locations at the same time, offering peace of mind.
With a mission to build safer spaces Hygiene Quotient, a paperless monitoring service introduced to help verify your site’s evidence in real-time, suggest improvements and generate a daily score. The mobile-based service is redefining community living by facilitating real-time auditing for you to take timely corrective actions.
- Third-party Auditors Are Expediting Their Processes To Meet The Current Requirements
Third-party organizations are digitizing their practices and processes and changing the auditing landscape. Even standard organizations are upgrading to digital solutions in order to audit and streamline certification submissions. They’re also partnering with existing quality management software companies to make integration and submission process easier.
Third-party auditing and certification agencies like Equinox Labs are going to be a massive help for the food businesses to strengthen their food safety and hygiene initiatives by timely and regular inspections. Certifications like Safe Place to Dine identifies and recognizes the efforts of the restaurants in keeping their customers safe.
It’s very clear that these trends seem to be of a long-term nature. Modernization and digital transformation is the future and will have a lasting impact on our food systems. Now, is the time to build a better and safer food safety culture for the future.