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dexFreight Coordinates Frozen Food Shipment Using Blockchain Technology

On Oct. 15, Netuno USA shipped 5,320 pounds of frozen food from Preferred Freezer Services in Medley, Florida to seafood distributor Manny’s Enterprises Inc. in Sunrise, Florida using a blockchain-based logistics platform.

The shipment was the decentralized logistics platform dexFreight‘s first blockchain-based shipment using smart contracts. The platform, which envisions an ecosystem of open source protocols, blockchain and machine learning technologies, allowed the shipper and carrier to directly connect, negotiate rates, and schedule pickup and delivery. 

For this first truckload shipment, dexFreight partnered with Netuno USA, one of the fastest growing seafood wholesalers, Arel Trucking Inc., an asset-based motor carrier with over 180 trucks, and RSK, the first smart contract platform secured by Bitcoin. Funds for the transaction were held in escrow by the smart contract on the integrated RSK platform and were automatically released to the carrier upon delivery. 

“This is a huge milestone toward an imminent transformation of the logistics industry through the adoption of blockchain technology,” says Rajat Rajbhandari CEO and co-founder of dexFreight. “Our platform aims for a truly decentralized model, open to all the stakeholders, and allowing for a new world of services that will bring much needed optimization and liquidity to this industry.”

dexFreight offers the industry’s first blockchain-based verified identity and objective reputation system derived from smart contract data and key performance indicators (KPIs) such as on-time pick-up and delivery, on-time payments, loading and unloading times, freight claims, and more. With this data readily available, the company says shippers and third parties can streamline the carrier onboarding process while reducing associated liability risk.

“With the use of smart contracts, companies like dexFreight can transfer value and assets between parties on our platform,” says Diego Gutierrez, CEO of RSK. “With a defined set of rules, in this case for logistics, all participants know that their business needs will be fulfilled without anyone altering their agreement or changing the rules.”

In addition, with up-to-date profiles in the platform, including all required and relevant documentation such as licensing, insurance, safety and performance records, and credit history, counterparties will be automatically qualified based on unique business requirements, issuing alerts or even preventing transactions when qualifications drop below designated thresholds. 

“With dexFreight, we have transparency into loads we’re shipping all over the U.S. based on honest and accurate information that is beneficial for our operation and our customers,” adds Luciano Bonaldo, president and co-founder of Netuno USA Inc.

Further, Robert J. Julia, CFO of Arel Trucking, says “dexFreight solves the issue of false documentation by making our transactions with shippers completely transparent, and so we can get paid for the service we provided. This technology is the way of the future for the whole trucking industry.”

Aldi signs 5-year contract with Dachser – Logistics Manager Magazine

Food retailer Aldi has signed a five-year contract with Dachser that will see the 3PL provide a warehouse platform as well as UK & Ireland distribution services for a wide range of Aldi’s products.

Dachser has taken on a new warehouse on a 10-year lease. The warehouse is adjacent to its existing logistics centre in Brackmills business park, Northampton and will provide the additional capacity needed to accommodate a combined platform operation for Aldi’s alcohol and general ambient products.

Aldi and Dachser have worked together for over 25 years. “We have been very pleased with Dachser’s high level of commitment to our mutual partnership in the UK,” said Aldi’s managing director of corporate logistics Fritz Walleczek, “and are delighted that we are now able to build on this further through the securing of a long-term contract”.

First automated low-entry truck for Brakes – Logistics Manager Magazine

Brakes, the supplier of food to the catering industry, is making deliveries in London with its first fridge-bodied Mercedes-Benz Econic to feature the manufacturer’s own automated manual transmission.

The low-entry 18-tonner is powered by a 7.7-litre straight-six engine driving through a 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 system.

The PowerShift transmission system was not previously available on the Econic. It has been introduced to meet demand from distribution-related operations for a more fuel-efficient alternative to the six-speed Allison automatic which is well-suited to stop-start waste collection duties.

Working from the company’s Premier Park distribution centre in west London, Brakes’ Econic 1830L is making an average of 20 deliveries each day to hotels, restaurants, pubs and other establishments in London.

Brakes’ fleet & MHE Manager Paul Vernon said: “The Allison gearbox was not appropriate for an operation like ours, but we have high hopes for the Mercedes PowerShift system. We’ve already seen some very encouraging fuel returns. The Econic is averaging 10 mpg, which is on a par with the 18-tonne Mercedes-Benz Antos trucks we operate from the same location.

“The Econic’s cab affords drivers great all-round visibility, which may help to make the roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Its easy cross-cab access also enhances safety for our own drivers, because rather than stepping down into the traffic when they exit the vehicle, they can always do so on the pavement side.”

Environmental compatibility was also a priority. Like other vehicles based at Premier Park, the Econic runs on Shell GTL (gas to liquid) fuel. According to independent research from one of the UK’s vehicle testing organisations, this fuel offers significant reductions in NOx and particulate emissions compared to a standard Euro VI truck.

New Actros offers ‘partially automated’ driving

Waitrose trials two-hour delivery service – Logistics Manager Magazine

Waitrose is trialling a two-hour delivery service for food and drink in selected London postcodes.

It is using On the dot, the last mile specialist spun out of CitySprint for the “Waitrose Rapid Delivery” service.

Customers will be able to choose up to 20 items from more than 1,500 products at rapid.waitrose.com.

Before completing their order they will be given the option to receive their shopping within two hours of placing the order or to specify a one-hour time slot on the same day. There is a £10 minimum spend and a £5 charge will apply for using either service.

The postcodes covered are: SW5, SW6, SW10, WC1, WC2, EC1, CR5 and CR8.

Richard Ambler, head of business development at Waitrose & Partners, said: “Customers are increasingly wanting to buy whatever they want when they want it. For many, we have moved away from the weekly supermarket visit to give us more fluidity with our busy lives and give us better control against over-buying and waste. Our trips to the supermarket are therefore much more frequent – Waitrose Rapid Delivery ensures we give our customers even greater flexibility and convenience to get their shopping as and when they want it.”

Using On the dot cargo bikes as well as vans to make deliveries is predicted to save up to four tonnes of GHG emissions a year. “The grocery sector is undergoing its biggest shift for decades – one where convenience and immediacy will win,” said Santosh Sahu, chief executive at On the dot.

How will ‘bleeding’ vegan burger fare across UK pubs?

Some Dog and Partridge regulars question the point, but overall the vegan menu has been a hit

Dog and Partridge staff member Danny Rowe tuck into a Moving Mountains B12 burger




Danny Rowe tries a Moving Mountains B12 burger. He said he and other staff were sceptical about the new vegan menu when it arrived.
Photograph: Colin McPherson

Veganism may be on the ascendance in the UK, with more than 3.5 million people now embracing a meat and dairy-free diet and supermarket chains offering plant-based ranges alongside their standard burgers and bangers.

But for others, veganism is an affectation– a diet popular with earnest leftwingers too “woke” for yoghurt but an alien concept to many who have grown up eating meat and do not intend for that to change.

Does a move by one of the UK’s biggest pub chains this week suggest dairy and meat-free eating is moving firmly into the mainstream?

Marstons, which runs more than 1,550 pubs, has introduced a vegan menu in 413 of its outlets, saying it is responding to customer demand. One of them is the Dog and Partridge in Failsworth, a suburb of Oldham better known locally for its big Tesco than its devotion to the gastronomic zeitgeist.

Until Wednesday, the pub’s bestseller has been the BBQ ranch burger: prime steak, topped with crispy bacon and melted cheese. Now, alongside Buffalo cauliflower wings, the star item on the new menu is the Moving Mountains B12 burger. Made with the oyster mushrooms, pea protein, and oats, it is supposed to taste and look like meat. It is even designed to “bleed” like a rare-cooked burger, only with beetroot juice rather than animal fat.

The Dog and Partridge in Failsworth is among 413 Marstons pubs to introduce a vegan menu.


The Dog and Partridge in Failsworth is among 413 Marstons pubs to introduce a vegan menu. Photograph: Colin McPherson

Brenda Whittaker, 81, was not keen: “My granddaughter keeps trying to get me to eat vegan food and I say to her: ‘I’ve got to 80 eating meat and I’m not about to stop now.’ She brings her own soup when she comes to us and has her own special teapot so she can brew her own tea.”

For Whittaker and her 84-year-old husband, Thomas, veganism comes with a raft of questionable rules. “They’ve got some funny ideas. At Christmas we were only allowed to buy our great-granddaughter wooden toys and we had to wrap them in brown paper,” said Thomas. The couple still cannot quite believe their granddaughter got married with no shoes on.

Nonetheless, they were persuaded to try the B12 burger as long as they could still have their fish and chips after. “Not bad,” said Thomas afterwards. “Like sausage meat … quite nice. Certainly better than Quorn burgers,” added their friend Barbara Hodson-Ridgway, 55. But she did not really see the point: “I don’t get why vegans want to eat something that tastes like meat, if they don’t want to eat meat.”

Muriel Goodall, left, and Doreen Harper both tried the B12 burger. ‘Quite tasty. Just a bit too sweet for me,’ said Goodall.


Muriel Goodall, left, and Doreen Harper both tried the B12 burger. ‘Quite tasty. Just a bit too sweet for me,’ said Goodall. Photograph: Colin McPherson

Murial Goodall, 85, and her friend Doreen Harper, 74, have herbivores in the family too. “My daughter decided she wouldn’t eat meat when she 14. Now she’s a vegan and so is her partner. My son, his wife and their daughter are all vegetarians,” said Goodall. Harper’s sister swore off meat after the foot and mouth crisis more than 15 years ago.

They too had actually ordered fish and chips but agreed to give the B12 a whirl. “Quite tasty,” said Goodall. “Just a bit too sweet for me.” Their burger was not bleeding beetroot or anything else; the patty a slightly nutty and vaguely cardboardy disc that could just about pass for a value beef burger bulked out with too much rusk. The sloppy jackfruit topping was more successful, the Indian fruit cooked slowly down into a convincing impression of pulled pork.

The pub staff were sceptical of the new menu when it arrived. “We didn’t really think it would fly but we got the regulars to try it the first night,” said Danny Rowe, 18. Rowe usually has a steak for his staff meal, but along with his friend Kyle McHugh, 20, gave the B12 a thumbs up.

Haute cuisine it is not. Chef Pete Blaxall said the kitchen had a new microwave fitted to defrost and blast the frozen vegan burgers before putting them on a special grill tray to avoid cross-contamination on the hot plate. But the pub supervisor Jennifer Bierman, a committed meat-eater, reckoned the new menu would be a hit. “We have a gluten-free menu. Why not a vegan one? Tastes are changing,” said Bierman.

Fowler Welch extends partnership with Bernard Matthews

Bernard Matthews logo
 

Chilled food specialist Fowler Welch and poultry producer Bernard Matthews have extended their long-term partnership with additional services and volume. Norwich-based Bernard Matthews has committed to a new two-year warehousing and distribution contract, increasing the volume of products that will be handled by Fowler Welch by 50%. Foweler Welch will manage chilled distribution, which is independent of any contracts with other providers. XPO Logistics continue to work with Bernard Matthews. Nick Hay, Fowler Welch CEO, said: “The recently completed £2m […]



Rising Transportation Costs in Food Manufacturing: A Problem or An Opportunity?

Food and beverage manufacturers in the United States are experiencing lower profits due to rising transportation costs, which can result in late fees and increased inventory costs.

Already one of the highest costs associated with supply chain management, there are multiple factors causing trucking costs to rise. They include:

  • Fuel price increases
  • Increased federal regulation governing driver hours
  • A shortage of skilled drivers forcing higher wages
  • Increased demand for fresh and frozen foods
  • An increase in the number of shipments due to more frequent deliveries

Late fees as a result of a combination of these factors also are cutting into already slim profit margins. Unfortunately, retailers and foodservice businesses often charge an additional fee for late deliveries because any products have short shelf lives, and when product arrives late, it reduces the amount of sale time available once the product hits the shelves. 

These transportation issues are forcing manufacturers to change distribution and production schedules and as a result, inventory costs also are increasing. In many cases, the same trucks are used to transport ingredients and materials, so the inbound delivery of key supplies is impacted as well.

So how do manufacturers deal with these issues and try to minimize the loss of profits?

Any analysis should begin with a question about the products that are shipped to customers. Are the right products being shipped to the right places, at the right times and in the right quantities? In today’s market, it is essential that food and beverage forecasting methodologies look at item level forecasting. Pyramid level forecasting that includes categories, brands and families is a necessity for the various levels of strategic and tactical planning. However, for an industry that has limited product shelf lives, it is critical to have the right product, at the right place to minimize re-deployment of finished goods inventories. Re-deployment of inventory that initially goes to the wrong location causes manufacturers millions of dollars each year in extra transportation costs, fines and product spoilage. This problem causes a ripple effect as production runs need to be changed to produce product that has to be shipped to the correct location leading to increased manufacturing costs. 

Synchronizing the supply chain is the best approach to solving this problem and will help take a great deal of sting out of increased transportation costs. A synchronized supply chain can allow manufacturers to reduce distribution, manufacturing, inventory and procurement costs, which will in turn increase profits. These benefits will come from the following process improvements:

  • Improved item location forecasting
  • Accurate distribution planning
  • Improved production planning
  • Better procurement planning
  • Implementing a sales and operation planning process

Synchronizing the supply chain begins with breaking it down into its individual components, then reconnecting it intelligently so that accurate business information flows throughout the chain. A connected supply chain includes a synchronized flow of information as well as the materials needed to produce the finished product.

Analyzing each piece of the chain can unlock countless unnecessary costs that reduce profits. For example, improving production planning, combined with an accurate forecast, can minimize costly changeovers and unnecessary downtimes. Accurate production plans translate into more accurate procurement forecasts, which minimizes inventory and reduces expediting costs.

A synchronized supply chain will not only help manufacturers absorb rising costs but also streamline the business and remove hundreds of thousands of dollars of costs that could be profits. 

Transportation costs are a necessary part of doing business. If they rise globally and consistently throughout the industry, then manufacturers need to figure out how to minimize the effects on profits. A large percentage of a company’s profits are consumed by supply chain costs. Synchronizing the materials and information that flows through the supply chain will minimize production and distribution costs. This will provide new opportunities and give manufacturers the edge on competition and a starting point to becoming the agile effective enterprise.

Stephen Dombroski is QAD’s senior manager for the consumer products and food and beverage vertical markets. He has over 30 years experience in manufacturing and supply chain and has helped multiple companies in a number of industries to implement S&OP concepts and processes.

Rising Healthcare Costs, Consumer Awareness to Drive Growth in Food Safety Testing

The global food safety testing market is expected to witness a CAGR of 7.2 percent during the forecast period of 2018-2023, according to a new report, The Global Food Safety Testing Market 2018: Opportunities & Challenges to 2023. The market was valued at $11.53 million in 2016.

Food supply and quality of food are under constant threat globally, causing this growing demand for effective test products that can ensure food safety.

The practice of food safety testing has gained considerable significance over the past years, owing to growing incidences of food-borne illnesses and poisoning by contaminated food products. This necessitates the robust and effective system in place to ensure food security as well as food safety.

The report touches on a number of challenges and opportunities in the market. Key findings include the following: 

Rising Healthcare Cost due to Lacunas in Food Safety Testing

Consumer choice is key for any food-based industry, as the consumers safety, health concerns and preferences always drive the food market. The additional burden in the form of rising healthcare cost and increasing out-of-the pocket expenditure on healthcare by commoners has prompted the governments and regulatory authorities to set a robust food safety policy.

Consumer organizations and other non-profit government organizations are also a driving force behind food safety policy. Each of these organizations advocate for food safety in a different way, while one focuses on presenting information through science and research, another focuses on showing the real-life impacts of food-borne illness on families, while yet another focuses on consumer education.

The restraining factors for the market are: microbiological testing often requires long time to get the results, which affects manufacturers and delays product marketing. Tough rapid testing has eased the testing market, but its high cost is affecting the market growth. Moreover, multiple test methodologies required by various regulations is another restraining factor for the food safety testing market.

Rising Consumer Awareness Amidst Food-borne Illness Incidences

Globally, incidences of food-borne diseases are increasing at a high rate, and the most common cause of outbreaks are Salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholera, Campylobacter and Listeria. Over the past few years, the world saw an unprecedented outbreak of food-borne illnesses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has reported that every year, one in 10 people fall sick due to food-borne illness, most importantly, children under five years of age are at a high risk. Major food-borne disease outbreaks have occurred in every continent in the past decade, often amplified by globalized trade. Such incidences have made companies incur heavy loss of sales and brand equity, making consumers aware about the potential health-hazards. The key players of food safety testing are now focusing on research and development in order to bring safe food to the consumers.

Pathogen-Testing Type Leads the Overall Market

Pathogen testing dominates the food safety testing market, with fruit and vegetable testing for contaminants being the largest application area. Pathogens are harmful microorganisms that cause deterioration of food quality and trigger serious health issues. Recent concerns about microbial contaminants, such as E. coli and Salmonella, have driven the pathogen safety testing market. Pathogen testing is growing at a faster rate in the food safety testing market due to the serious health effects of pathogens and the immediate retardation of the quality of food products.

Asia-Pacific Poised at Highest Growth Rate

North America constituted the largest food safety testing market in 2016. Regarding growth, the Asia-Pacific market for food safety testing is likely to record the fastest compounded annual rate, primarily driven by the increase in testing procedures from the potential regions of China and India. The scientific investigations/reports on outbreak of food-borne diseases in the region over the past 29 years, due to adulteration and chemical and microbiological contamination, have forced authorities to concentrate on the issue of food safety. Authorities, like Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) have been established to take serious steps toward ensuring food safety.

ILS rolls out labelling solution to leading meat netting company

TruNet (UK) Ltd, part of leading global food netting company The TruNet Group, has invested in state-of-the-art labelling equipment from Industrial Labelling Systems (ILS) to improve productivity in the packing operation at its factory in Leicestershire.

The long-standing customer of ILS, the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor of Evolabel’s Print & Apply Labelling Systems, chose the T43 Blow Vac Applicator with integrated conveyor for labelling shrink-wrapped rolls of elastic meat netting at TruNet (UK)’s Ashby-de-la-Zouch facility, where it also manufactures trussing loops, elastic and non-elastic twines used in food service and butchers.

Meat netting is a popular and effective alternative to tying up joints of beef, pork, chicken, ham and turkey, providing better eye appeal following cooking, however, as it can be stored for long periods of time the packaging requires labels with exceptional print qualities to ensure information is still clearly visible.

The T43 Blow Vac is a contact free, safe, easy to operate and highly accurate system that produces labels with excellent readability of barcodes, even after long storage periods, while the innovative applicator plate with integrated vacuum injectors and blow nozzle, allows high-precision labelling with no mechanical moving parts at distances of up to 200mm.

ILS managed a seamless installation of the T43 Blow Vac at TruNet (UK), which is currently labelling 30 rolls of meat netting per minute and has helped reduce power consumption, while increasing productivity and efficiency at the plant, which was recently awarded an ‘AA’ rating by BRC Global Standards.

TruNet (UK)’s Factory Manager, Darren Pritchard, is delighted with the T43’s performance and the customer support received from ILS, which augers well for future collaborations between the two businesses.

He said: “The exceptional print quality of the labels and reliability of the equipment are two of the stand-out features of the T43. We have a good relationship with ILS and I would certainly be open to tapping into their labelling expertise again. Would I recommend equipment from ILS to others? Yes, I would.”

Food suppliers require highly accurate printers to ensure labels carry information and traceability which is still clear and easy to understand after rough handling, as well as applicators that can function fully in challenging environments, such as frozen and chilled areas.

ILS’s print and apply solutions come with a range of applicator modules to suit all conditions and applications, such as Blow-on, Wipe-on, Tamp, Vacuum Belt, Twin-face apply and Tray & Pallet labellers with auto-tandem systems offering full redundancy so OEE can be maintained on the packing line.

Cutting-edge labelling technology also offers the food sector greater speed and accuracy compared with manual labelling and automation does help free up staff for more productive tasks – limiting human intervention in mundane processes minimises the risk of errors and waste, as well as reduces labour costs.

In addition to the food and beverage industry, ILS is a leading supplier to companies involved in automotive, construction, telecoms, nuclear, logistics, warehousing and household goods. Products offered include automatic print and apply labellers, automated pallet labelling systems, outer case & tray labellers, labels, ink and ribbon, large character inkjet marking and inline barcode inspection/validation systems.

Lack of organic farming land could stall growth of US$320 billion organic food market – Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence

The future growth of the US$320 billion[1] organic food market could be at risk if organic land area does not grow sufficiently to meet rising demand, according to insights from Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence. Statistics from independent sources confirm the global organic farmland area has grown by 8.4% per year since 2001 – but organic food consumption is exceeding the growth of land, increasing by 10.2% per year over the same period.

Organic farmland not being converted quick enough

The growth of the organic market has been fuelled by a rapid rise in the area of farmland which has been certified organic. However, while the global organic farmland area has grown by 8.4% per year since 2001 – organic food consumption over the same period has increased by 10.2% per year[2]. As of 2016, a total of 57.8m ha had been approved for organic production, amounting to 1.2% of all the world’s farmland. In the last two years, some 13.4m hectares of new organic farmland has been created, as demand for organic food and drink products grows. Some 2.7 million farmers worldwide were identified as ‘organic farmers’ in 2016 (up 13% year-on-year). There are now 15 countries around the world – from Sweden to Samoa – where more than 10% of the total farmland area is registered organic.

EU standardises international definition of “Organic”

According to FiBL and IFOAM Organics International, the second biggest market in the world for organic products is the EU with sales in 2016 estimated at €30.7bn. From 2021 onwards, the EU will insist that its own domestic rules should directly apply to imported organic goods, and that current ‘equivalency’ agreements, which the European Commission says allows upwards of 60 different standards to be considered equivalent to EU standards, will no longer be valid. This, the EU claims, will finally establish a level-playing field between EU producers and those from third countries which, it believes, is not currently present.

New legislation will also be ratified by legislators in the course of 2018 to control what can be deemed organic by EU farmers, but this will not enter into force until January 1st 2021. The aim of the new rules is to limit the exceptions to standard organic production rules which are currently available, which will put greater pressure on organic farmers.

US policy changes threaten organic Beef & Poultry

In the US market, unlike the EU, there is no subsidy system in place to reward organic farming and so the price premium which organic products attract is the only economic incentive. One area of current controversy surrounds acceptable management practices for organic livestock and poultry producers. The US government is withdrawing an Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule which set out to impose new provisions for regulating livestock handling, transport for slaughter, and poultry housing standards for organic products. Without this rule, organic livestock producers could see increased competition from producers with lower standards who could still call themselves organic. It remains to be seen the impact this will have on consumer perceptions of quality in this major global market.

Chris Horseman, Policy Consultant to Informa’s Agribusiness Intelligence said: “A massive international market now exists for organic food and drink products, ranging from fresh fruit and vegetables through to ready meals and processed foods, but future growth is by no means assured. Sophisticated regulatory frameworks are in place to govern all aspects of the organic food chain, from approved farm management techniques to rules on the marketing and labelling of organic products. But demand for new organic farmland to serve this growth is ever increasing. This is especially pressing considering that the unit yields from organic agriculture are lower than those from conventional agriculture. In the longer-term, a growing world population may pose questions about the sustainability of organic farming, and whether there remains room in the market for a production system which renounces pesticides and artificial fertilizers and hence does not seek to maximise output and yield by using in the same way that conventional agriculture aims to.”

References

1“Organic Foods and Beverages Market Analysis by Product”. Published by Grand View Research, 2017.
2“The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics and Emerging Trends 2018”. Published by FIBL and IFOAM Organics International, 2018.