Amid food supply disruptions, restaurant operators have been encouraged to simplify their supply chain and source ingredients closer to home. While this may immediately sound like a lower-tech way to operate, your back-of house tech should be able to help you research local suppliers that will help you diversify your vendors and better manage the risk of an ingredient shortage, Restaurant Dive reports. Whether you are sourcing ingredients from the other side of the world or the other side of town, are you pulling as much as you can from your technology tools? Your vendor management process can and should be streamlined, accurate, and account for differences in shelf life and food safety requirements, whether you are sourcing products from a multinational supplier or a local farm.
COVID-19 has cast a bright spotlight on the building blocks of the food industry. It has made consumers and food businesses question where our food comes from, what foods should and shouldn’t be offered throughout the year, how our food is produced and by whom, and how many stops a food product makes along the food chain from start to finish. There is a growing ecosystem of tech-driven organizations looking to give food industry professionals more knowledge about the food they are managing, as well as more control in managing it. Better Food Ventures, a venture capital investment firm that focuses on technology’s applications in the food industry, recently assembled a chart of the 1,300 startups comprising the agtech ecosystem. These startups operate in such areas as crop monitoring, pest and disease monitoring, harvest robotics, automated crop care and sunless production systems – and provide an interesting glimpse into how the industry is adapting to the current environment. As we manage the possibility of future challenges ranging from severe weather to pandemics, technologies like these are likely to become more critical pillars of the food supply.