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Food Supply Chain

Colloquially known as “farm to fork,” food supply chains encompass all of the activities involved in the transformation of foodstuffs (i.e. raw materials) into consumer-ready food products – from sourcing, to processing, handling, distribution, and sale – as well as the management and documentation of these activities.

 

In the management of food supply chains, criteria including the incoming quality of materials, processing methodology, storage conditions, outgoing quality, and much more must be documented at each link in the chain. Synchronizing and sharing this information among all of the parties along the chain is critical for enabling lot traceability, collaborative coordination and optimization of operations, product consistency and quality management, regulatory compliance, and ultimately, customer safety and satisfaction.

Food Supply Chain

Read on to learn what food supply chains are, the people and processes that make them work, and how they are managed.

Simplified example of a food supply chain

  • 1. A supplier grows and harvests a crop of wheat

  • 2. A processor turns the wheat into flour

  • 3. The flour goes to food manufacturer where it is it is combined with foodstuffs from other processors to make cereals, breads, pastas, and other food products.

  • 4. The food products are sent to a distributor who manages the logistics and transportation of the products to various retailers

  • 5. Retailers then sell the food products to end-consumers.