Uniform Global Code Is Key to Industry Efficiency, Says Food Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Utilizing one global communications language for the entire supply chain will solve the industry's current inability to identify, mark, manage, and track fresh food products across the food supply chain and at point-of-sale, according to findings revealed in a white paper from a coalition of associations from the fresh food and retail sectors.

These findings are contained in the report titled, "Industry Roadmap: Building the Fresh Foods Supply Chain of the Future," and drafted by coalition members including the American Lamb Board, the Food Marketing Institute, the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, the National Turkey Federation, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association on behalf of The Beef Checkoff, the National Chicken Council, the National Fisheries Institute, the National Pork Board, and the Produce Marketing Association.

From suppliers to retailers to consumers, the proposed solution to meeting emerging fresh foods' supplier and retailer needs calls for using one global communications language for the entire supply chain, utilizing existing GS1 standards and technologies including the Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN) and GS1 DataBar (formerly known as Reduced Symbology System or RSS).

Adopting the plan will require each participant in the fresh food supply chain that produces a product or adds value to an existing product to evaluate and potentially upgrade their systems, according to the white paper.

The coalition said it expects that while relatively expensive, adopting this proposal across the fresh foods industry will yield significant benefits including increased information capture, faster POS throughput, effective category management, effective traceability, fresher product, and shrink reduction.

The Universal Product Code (UPC) random weight number system currently used is not sufficient to accommodate the information needed at the point-of-sale register, the coalition said. Instead, a single, integrated solution that accommodates fixed-measure and variable-measure for packaged and fresh foods can be applied across the food industry.

For a free copy of "Industry Roadmap: Building the Fresh Foods Supply Chain of the Future," contact any of the participating associations.
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