Traceability takes a top spot in modern food industry food safety strategies, following every aspect of the supply chain through manufacturing and to the point of consumer purchase.

And traceability today travels through a multifaceted lens. “More people are becoming increasingly health conscious, which has raised awareness of the ingredients that go into their favorite snack foods and baked goods,” says Matt Brown, CEO, Wherefour, Petaluma, CA. “This results in more scrutiny of the companies that produce those goods. Consumers want to know that their favorite companies are ethical, environmentally conscious, and transparent with their supply chain. As a result, companies are placing more emphasis on production standards, as well as traceability and documentation of their ingredients, products, and practices.”

Elevated regulatory standards factor prominently into offered technological solutions. As FDA and EFSA move toward more preventative measures, there is an increased burden on manufacturers and everyone along the supply chain to manage and maintain traceability, says Brown.

Requirements for snack food and bakery traceability are growing stricter, says Erin Conick, implementation specialist, FlexiBake, Vancouver, British Columbia. “In large-scale production, doing this by hand is quite time-consuming and leaves room for human error. When a recall is required, it can take hours of manual work if everything is noted down on paper or Excel spreadsheets. With these stricter measures coming into place, audits and recalls increasing, using time consuming manual methods simply won’t cut it anymore.”

The goal is to simplify and streamline operational efficiency and safety. “Complexities for tracking inbound ingredients and following finished goods are compounded by various go-to-market scenarios routing products to distribution centers, foodservice operators, and retail stores,” says Julie McGill, vice president of supply chain strategy and insights, FoodLogiQ, Durham, NC. “Gathering information at each of these data points is critical for supply-chain transparency and traceability.”

FDA’s proposed rule for food traceability requires certain foods and ingredients to have additional recordkeeping for consumer safety, notes Belinda Rueffer, director of marketing, Axele TMS, Coppell, TX. “The proposal affects anyone that manufactures, processes, packs, or holds foods on the Food Traceability List (FTL), which include soft cheese, shell eggs, nut butters, and other foods used in baked goods and snack foods that have been designated as high risk by the FDA. The rule must be finalized by November 2022, after which, companies across the supply chain will have two years to comply. Bakers and others across the supply chain must prepare to implement the final rule by the end of 2024.”

The rule establishes standardized recordkeeping requirements with critical tracking events and key data elements, says Rueffer. Digitized traceability lets bakeries and other producers meet these stringent requirements for smarter food safety. “Companies affected by the rule must capture the required data points outlined in the proposal and store them electronically for 24 months. If the FDA asks for records, they must be produced within 24 hours. Companies need to maintain key data elements (location, timing of event) and critical tracking events, which involves growing, receiving, transforming, creating, or shipping the food.”

Food producers and distributors must gain visibility into the routing sequences of the products being shipped and capture all events that occur, says Rueffer. “This information can be used proactively to prevent issues relating to expiration dates, damaged products, lot controls, etc. The data can offset issues driven by increased complexities in the supply chain, helping to improve food safety.”

The transparency offered by traceability solutions provides enhanced ingredient security, says Bill Romano, business development manager, Antares Vision Group, Moorestown, NJ. “In a global supply chain where counterfeiting and diversion continues to pose challenges, the ability to track raw materials and finished goods brings obvious value. And of course, should a recall be necessary, the data obtained through traceability solutions makes these far less painful and far more targeted and streamlined,” he says.

At the point of purchase, traceability tools also allow snack and bakery companies to directly engage with consumers, notes Romano, telling their brand stories with ease and depth.

“For consumers, much of traceability’s merits involve product origins, including whether or not ingredients are sustainably farmed, and how eco-conscious a product’s supply chain process is,” says Romano. “Increasingly, consumers are able to obtain this information from smartphone scans directly at the point of purchase.”

Beyond current industry and government regulations and constantly tightening processes for audit processes, the snack and bakery industry is at the forefront of a critical role in consumer safety and satisfaction, notes John Nobers, director, pharma, medical, and industrial track and trace, Videojet Technologies, Wood Dale, IL.

“Multimedia exposure, especially social media, of high-profile product recalls has a significant consumer and producer impact,” says Nobers. “This raises awareness for the need and value of traceability capabilities to support wholesale food producers and help ensure food safety.” He suggests even greater consumer scrutiny is evident today in focused areas like contamination due to pathogens, foreign objects, allergens, and more.

This broader work is ongoing as traceability technologies reveal new potential efficiencies. “FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety takes a new approach to food safety, leveraging technology and other tools and techniques to create a safer, more-digital, traceable food system,” says McGill. “Their blueprint will adapt and expand as food technologies and the food system evolves. Digitization of supply chains is upon us, and with that, snack and bakery companies will need to be more nimble than ever before.”



Company: Antares Vision Group


Logistics Snapshot: Antares Vision Group (AVG) offers software and hardware for complete end-to-end supply-chain traceability. “Our systems can guarantee full product traceability and consistency throughout the supply chain,” says Bill Romano, business development manager. “Our inspection solutions can determine the consistent quality of your product, while our Track & Trace processes allow companies to locate and retrieve the route each item takes, from initial production right through to end users.”

Antares Vision Group offers software for tracking raw materials from the farm or from a processing plant by creating unique (serialized) and dynamic digital identities (i.e., QR codes or NFC tags). The comprehensive solution also provides one-to-one direct marketing to consumers.

“From a hardware perspective, Antares Vision Group offers packaging line systems for the ‘activation’ of unique and dynamic digital identity, as well as for aggregating single units to cases, bundles, or pallets—the so-called ‘parent-child’ traceability relationship,” says Romano.

Top Features:

  • Module-based solution supply chain traceability
  • Quality-control data
  • Brand protection indicators
  • Geo-localization
  • Consumer engagement
  • Batch traceability, single unit traceability, custom traceability
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Relationship with end user
  • Enable blockchain communication


Company: Axele


Logistics Snapshot: Axele provides an intelligent transportation management system that automates manual processes, saving time and increasing profits, says Belinda Rueffer, director of marketing. “Axele is built on an optimization engine that can find the most-profitable loads, incorporate hours of service for the most-feasible loads for a driver, and optimize load planning to help grow your business.”

The more data that is collected from connected TMS users, the greater the opportunity for optimization, savings, profitability, and growth, notes Rueffer. “Data can tell carriers which loads match best within their driver network, which roads are most congested, and which locations create excessive delays.” She notes this intelligence also incorporates insights like personal feedback (ratings for fuel stops, rest areas, carriers, shippers, etc.), activity within the platform (what features are utilized most), preferences (what users prioritize when making decisions), and social interactions within the community.

“But data alone is not actionable,” explains Rueffer. “For the connected TMS to be truly valuable, it must digest the data points and return concrete recommendations that draw a straight line to operational efficiency and profitability.” This is where TMS solutions of the past evolve into the transportation optimization systems (TOS) of the future. “And while connecting multiple systems and using AI to deliver advanced insights sounds like something only the largest carriers could use, that’s no longer the case,” she says, noting Axele TMS helps small to medium-sized companies compete.

Top Features:

  • Available free or paid with more options
  • Smart driver management
  • Smart trip planning
  • Easy on-road document management
  • Connected with load boards, ELDs, market rates, maps, accounting systems like QuickBooks, etc.
  • All vehicles and loads easily viewed on maps
  • Improve your driver settlement and expense reporting by integrating with COMDATA, APEX, or RTS
  • Operational Dashboards make it easy to view actual revenue vs. target revenue, earnings per driver, dollar per mile, loaded vs. empty miles, etc.
  • Axele alerts you when you need to take action, such as for loads needing dispatch, drivers needing loads, delays, or missing documents



Company: FlexiBake


Logistics Snapshot: FlexiBake ERP software has a lot tracking module that offers you the ability to track every raw material lot number from the moment it is entered into inventory, used in production, and sold as a finished product, notes Erin Conick, implementation specialist. “Product recalls are made simple by entering in a supplier lot number, receiving slip number, or your own production batch numbers. This provides you with a list of raw materials and products containing recalled ingredients, outlining what you still have on hand and any customers that need to be contacted.” She notes the system helps ensure efficient and accurate recalls and provides peace of mind.

One of the newest features in FlexiBake ERP is the MetriX DSD app, says Conick. “This direct-store delivery module allows your drivers to edit invoices, enter returns, take payment, and create credit notes on location using a smartphone or tablet. This streamlined process updates data within FlexiBake, enabling quicker invoicing and payment collection and eliminates extra work at the end of the day.”

Top Features:

  • Increases workplace efficiency
  • Creates Nutrition Facts panels
  • Helps with warehouse management
  • Ability to produce hundreds of different reports
  • New MetriX DSD module


Company: FoodLogiQ


Logistics Snapshot: FoodLogiQ offers a leading food industry software solution specializing in supplier management, food safety compliance, quality incident management, recall management, and whole chain traceability, notes Julie McGill, vice president of supply chain strategy and insights. “FoodLogiQ Connect allows food companies to manage their operations expertly and efficiently. Our platform captures all the data needed for a transparent and FSMA-compliant supply chain. FoodLogiQ Connect stitches together critical tracking events to achieve end-to-end traceability and to quickly identify and address food safety issues—all on a single platform built exclusively for the food industry.” She notes customers like Whole Foods Market, Conagra, Hain Celestial, and Tyson Foods have partnered with FoodLogiQ to modernize and digitize their supply chains.

“Our platform currently houses nearly 100 million critical tracking events, providing detailed visibility into the movement of products across supply chains,” says McGill. “FoodLogiQ also has a suite of reporting tools, so that food brands can understand what data they have—as well as identify what’s missing. Exception reports show unknown items received at retail locations and also monitor for changes in data frequency, so you can quickly take action with relevant supply-chain partners. FoodLogiQ also provides a full library of REST APIs, allowing companies to extract, transfer, and upload data that they can then integrate into back-end systems and reports.

Top Features:

  • Manage + Monitor offers efficient supplier management, data monitoring, documentation, supplier onboarding, recordkeeping, supplier audits, and corrective actions, capturing food quality issues anywhere in your supply chain, reporting them in real-time, and recoup the costs of nonconforming product
  • Track + Trace provides robust supply-chain visualization through end-to-end, lot-level traceability, run an investigation, trace forward and backward to identify the root cause of an issue, and then locate and take action on the affected product in your supply chain, supporting true farm-to-fork traceability from grower/manufacturer to distribution center, restaurant, and/or grocery store
  • Recall + Response enables users to remove tainted products from the supply chain as quickly as possible, initiate mock or live recalls and stock withdrawals across all locations or a particular segment simultaneously using email, phone, and text, using industry standard templates to support standardized communications across your supply chain and then monitoring responses and completion actions in real-time via a live dashboard


Company: SAVOYE


Logistics Snapshot: SAVOYE is a customized global logistics solutions engineering company, with a large portfolio of solutions that combine hardware and software according to each customer’s needs. The company offers a full range of software solutions for the supply chain.

Some of the key changes affecting warehouses are the increase in the number of distribution channels, the diversification of order profiles and the automation of processes. They require a completely integrated, comprehensive, modular coordination solution, which can adapt to different transformations taking place within the business.

SAVOYE offers a range of management software, with the objective of meeting all the needs of a supply-chain manager, either globally with a modular suite, or in a more-targeted manner with more focused solutions that will interface with other systems.

Top Features:

  • Manages product inventory attributes, such as lot number, production date, expiration date, and shelf life
  • Prioritizes product selection for order fulfillment based on production date and shelf life
  • Browser-based WES interface can view and filter product inventory with specific attributes
  • Audit and QC system features for removing all or part of inventory for QC analysis based on lot, production date, SKU, or hold status
  • System-driven, continuous optimization of inventory location slotting based on product movement and velocity
  • Inventory reconciliation via host warehouse management or ERP systems, including regular or real-time synchronization of item master with host system to ensure the most up-to-date information is available for optimization
  • Helps streamline warehouse operations
  • Support for route planning and reverse load sequencing, putting the first stop on the trailer last
  • Managing inventory for longer-term storage or as a buffer for production before loading to a trailer
  • KPI reports and dashboards
  • Real-time and historical end-to-end visibility and traceability


Company: Videojet Technologies


Logistics Snapshot: Videojet Technologies helps snack food and bakery producers integrate coding, marking, and printing solutions like laser markers, continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers, and thermal transfer (TTO) systems, as well as traceability solutions, with inline, real-time coding, notes John Nobers, director, pharma, medical, and industrial track and trace. “Connecting with plant enterprise systems for specific information printed on primary and secondary packaging, proven Videojet production line control software can help address the increasing need to avoid or minimize recalls with full data capability. Real-time data can help track the receipt of raw materials, the measurement and control of ingredients, finished product labeling, and extend into sales order fulfillment. In the event of a recall, for instance, a retailer with a track-and-trace solution in place can then reduce consumer risk by more-accurately defining where a product may have been compromised within a production process.”

The Videojet 2351 and 2361 inkjet systems print real-time alphanumeric codes and bar codes containing dynamic production data and supplier-specific information on cases, says Nobers. “The high-resolution printed codes can meet the requirements for traceability and the rapid identification of the product through the warehouse and to the wholesaler and retailer. On-demand printing solutions like this also allow manufacturers to quickly react to changes in content or to quickly update allergen warnings.”

Top Features:

  • Provide code and product-assurance solutions to meet high expectations
  • Complemented by Videojet’s Laetus Vision products, providing code, product, fill, measure, and quality inspection expertise
  • Videojet Laetus vision products cover 1D and 2D scanning to complex OCR/OCV applications, including blister and food inspection
  • A true single-source provider, spanning simple mark and scan applications to full software enterprise platforms, meeting critical needs for track-and-trace systems



Company: Wherefour


Logistics Snapshot: “Wherefour provides forward and backward traceability, start to finish, for manufacturers in the food industry through an ERP and traceability platform with a very clean interface that is easy to use,” says Matt Brown, CEO. “We cover all aspects of operations, from documenting vendor information and an extensive suite of inventory-management tools to batch and assembly production through shipping and invoicing.”

Each good, from the time it enters the facility and is dispersed in production, to the time it leaves, is documented and traceable through the end customer, notes Brown. “Wherefour records all shipments, including DSD deliveries, and also automatically puts lot codes on orders and invoices so our users can find exactly what lots went to customers at the push of a button. Reports can be run to fit the circumstances, including by date range, ingredients, production lots, and customer shipments. This eases recalls, audits, certifications, and inquiries from customers.”

Top Features:

  • Full forward and backward recall and production trace reports in a variety of formats
  • Track inventory or shipped goods at the click of a button, including carrier used for shipping, stock lots used, and current inventory
  • Automation streamlines lot number tracking from raw materials through finished goods
  • Automatically track inventory and transactions among multiple company locations
  • Upload, store, and tag an unlimited number of compliance documents, including COAs, lab test results, shipment photos, PDF files, spreadsheets, etc.
  • Vendors can manage and update their own compliance paperwork
  • Customizable quality-assurance functions, including specific compliance permission settings for individual users, approval/invalidation settings, auto-quarantine functions, and the ability to attach test results to specific stock lots
  • Real-time inventory management and cost management with material requirements planning (MRP) features
  • Accessible on any internet-connected device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or desktop