Eating local is an idea that is gaining widespread popularity. As consumers come to realize that fresh food is not only healthier but that it also tastes better, they are turning to local sources – bakeries, farms and dairies – for basic food supplies. For local businesses, getting food to the stores and from there to consumers is an important concern, as is keeping it fresh and safe on the journey. They also have to be sure to remain in compliance with all regulations concerning food handling and safety. New technology and software provide food solutions for small businesses to meet these needs. These combine all operations into a single software system, that can be scaled up as the business grows.
Eating local is the healthy choice
For a number of reasons, people are choosing to go local. This means supporting local businesses and communities. Eating local also means eating healthy, since fresh food retains all its nutritious goodness. Fresh food also tastes delicious, as anyone who has every stopped at a farm stand for fresh picked blueberries or grapes knows. Changing consumer preferences are reflected in the fact that 61% of customers say that they wish their grocery stores would stock more local products.
As of 2016, the value of the speciality foods market had increased to $127 billion USD. This represents a 15% increase since 2014. For many farmers and small businesses like dairies and bakeries, one of the biggest challenges can be to connect with their customer base. This is right up there with compliance with all regulations concerning the safe handling and shipping of food. Especially with growing demand, as a business is poised for expansion, there is a need for more delivery options, mobile inventory management, and other food solutions.
Maintaining food freshness and safety
There are a raft of federal, state, and local regulations pertaining to food handling and safety. Any perishable food business must ensure the safety and freshness of its products. Everything from asparagus to cheese to ice cream has to be transported safely from the processing and packing units to the stores where it can be purchased. Food tracking software can make the process of delivering perishable goods more efficient and reliable.
Especially when they are poised for expansion due to increasing demand for their products, small businesses need food solutions that will allow them to track food from its origins at the processing and packing unit all the way to the point of sale. This allows them to maintain the safety and quality of the food, as required by regulations. This also ensures that customers get the quality they have come to expect from the brand.
Tracking software for local suppliers
New software that lets food producers like bakeries, farms and diaries track products from the source to the checkout can help maintain food quality and safety. A single software system that can help businesses manage production and shipping, track performance and support warehouse processes improves the reliability of the entire process.
Food-specific software can integrate all data and workflows into a single system. It also has the added benefit of scalability, and can grow along with the business. Visibility, control, and insight all help to control production, marketing and overall performance.
As local products and especially locally-grown and produced food increase in popularity, small businesses like farms, dairies and bakeries are seeing a rise in demand for their products. Shipping and tracking perishable goods is a significant concern. Speciality food tracking software offers food solutions that can help ensure that the food reaches consumers at its best in terms of nutrition and quality.