GFSI 2020 Recap | One Connected World. One Safe Food Supply
Phew… another year has come and gone for the Global Food Safety Initiative’s annual conference for the global advancement of food safety. This year's conference took place in Seattle from February 25th - 28th. The annual GFSI conference is truly a global affair with over 1,200 food industry leaders from 50+ countries in attendance. And what a conference it was!
Certainly COVID-19 was a topic of discussion and was starting to occupy people's thoughts and actions more seriously in the United States. The biggest impact was seen with attendees expected from Europe, where company travel restrictions were starting to be put in place. So much has transpired in just 3 short weeks.
This year’s show was jammed packed with informative and interesting content - with speakers from both the private and public sectors and focused on all things - supply chain quality and food safety.
Presentations offered insight into consumer preferences and behaviors and the latest science, technology and collaborative tools being leveraged for food safety around the world.
We've been to several GFSI conferences around the world now, and it's become a wonderful way to catch up with customers, partners, prospects and make new friends ... and get to expense the client dinners which are always a blast; just don't mention that to our CFO!
As well as have some fun, or grab a bargain ride with Uber's new trunk seats 😂
2020 marks the 20th year of GFSI and the conference offered a time to take a look back over the past two decades of food safety innovation. It also marked the opportunity to mark the release of a bold set of new benchmarking requirements named ‘Version 2020’ which is described as:
“More than an update — it’s a complete rethink, representing the beginning of a new generation of recognition. The GFSI Benchmarking Requirements are the world’s most widely accepted benchmark for food safety certification programmes. Aligned with Codex Alimentarius, these science-based requirements enable a common understanding and mutual trust in the supply chain that facilitates trade, improves efficiency and lends nameplate authority to operations certified to a GFSI-recognised programme. They incorporate stakeholder input from public consultations and are regularly revised to reflect best practices and evolving needs in the industry.”
One Connected World. One Safe Food Supply
While it would be nearly impossible to recap all the great sessions, here are some quotes and highlights that stood out around the ideas of “Connected” and “Safety” based on the show's theme “One Connected World. One Safe Food Supply.”:
- “No sector illustrates this interconnectedness more than the food industry, where a product made and sold in one country may contain ingredients sourced from a dozen others.” - opening remarks
- Companies must increase their transparency throughout the supply chain in order to build and maintain customer trust.
- Sustainability, Responsible Sourcing and Food Safety are interconnected.
- “Customers are seeking taste, health and nutrition, and ingredients that are responsibly and sustainably sourced” - Kerry Group
- “Consumers assume and expect food safety, but are asking for sustainability, trust and authenticity in their ingredients. There are 1000s of schemas for sustainability but no harmonization. - Ferraro Foods
- “Ferrero is #1 in the world for sustainably sourced palm oil but consumers still associate issues with Nutella… Sustainable packaging whether recyclable or allow for reuse is the next wave of innovation... - Ferraro Foods
- The aim of GFSI is for “safe food for consumers everywhere - from origination to consumption” - Mike Robach, GFSI
- “Good retailing practices start with a culture of food safety… We have a zero tolerance attitude towards food safety… 98% of our suppliers are GFSI Certified… We first implemented our HACCP programs in 1998… Food Safety practices have necessitated changes in our store designs… Our Food Safety experts act as coaches in our stores and with department heads… We require higher standards for produce from CA and AZ” - Danny Wegman
- “We need to do more than just audit individual farm plots, we need to look at entire regions from a system design standpoint. If we were starting from scratch, we’d never design a system where cattle are raised near where Romaine lettuce is grown” - Danny Wegman
- “Safety First, Quality Always… Food Safety Culture requires deep cultural beliefs and aligned behaviors with capital and organizational resources… Everybody owns food safety…” - Kerry Group
- “You need to Inspect what you expect… Expectations = Specifications… When you audit, are your expectations being met?” - Costco
If we missed you at the event and you'd like to arrange a time to speak, get in touch and we'll look forward to meeting remotely, or hopefully we'll see you all at GFSI 2021 in Singapore!