by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Our Role in Exceptional Customer Experience

As many of you know, March is National Frozen Foods month. Thanks to the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, Inc. (NFRA) for their recently launched promotional efforts on why frozen food continues to offer an excellent value with minimal waste. Their points are spot on:

  • A wide variety of single serve and small plate options – portion control at its best.
  • Requires little preparation – the picking, cleaning, slicing and dicing are already done.
  • Flash-freezing technology delivers “perfect preservation,” freezing at the peak of freshness, right from the field or sea.
  • Your favorite foods are always in season.
  • Eco-friendly packaging is keeping frozen foods fresher longer and retaining more nutrients.
  • New brands and product lines are aligned with current health trends.
  • No spoilage or food waste – use what you need and put the rest back in the freezer. Money-saving!

This impact is hitting home as well as the Hanson Logistics teammates gathered at the America Frozen Food Institue’s, AFFI Con 2018, where the enthusiasm for the future of the frozen foods industry is optimistic. That said, the vast majority of growth appears to be in developing countries, while the U.S. enjoys a modest uptick in frozen food sales.

Late last year, an Acosta 2017 Insights Report pointed to the fact that 43 percent of Millennials are shopping frozen more frequently. All generational demographics indicated an increase in frozen food purchases, including 43 percent of Millennials; 27 percent of GenXers; 19 percent of Baby Boomers; and 19 percent of Silents.

While we’re not involved in the development or marketing of frozen food products, we can — and do — make a contribution to the consumer’s experience. On time, in full delivery of freezer case ready appetizers, bakery, entrée, and dessert items is our task at hand. Providing our customers with supply chain transparency, Class A warehouse space, accurate picking, and refrigerated truck capacity as needed is a behind-the-scenes scenario unfamiliar to most. The majority of consumers grabbing a quick bite or serving dinner to friends and family don’t give much thought to the growers and processors, warehouse and customer service staff, and drivers who make it all happen.

At that’s OK. Just keep making your selection from the freezer case, and we’ll keep fulfilling our “Yes, We Can” promise. Thanks again to our friends at NFRA and AFFI for their role in making it all happen.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

On FSMA Compliance

If you’re confused about compliance with FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), you’re certainly not alone. In fact, this was a “hot topic” at the recent Food Safety Summit, where a group of speakers discussed how food safety professionals are coping with the new rules.

And, in FSMA 2017, Foah International’s Shawn McBride told Quality Assurance that he’s been observing, “…somewhat of a mix between confusion, denial, fright, disinterest, and so on. To some it is ‘out there’; it does not seem to have real meaning because it is not today. And many are saying that they need time to get ‘things in order’ within their company or with their customers.”

McBride noted that there also is some confusion between what is labeled as a very small company (below $1 million) vs. small (which is over 500 employees). “Even that is not very clear and, therefore, their timelines (and pressure to be in compliance) are not in full swing,” McBride said in the article. “It feels like everyone is just waiting to see what the real law will be. But the law is there, we just need to get into it now.”

Breaking Down the Rules

The FSMA may be the most sweeping change in food safety law in 70 years, but according to the Texas State Dept. of Health Services, it also builds on existing regulations to ensure a broader approach to food safety. Broken down into seven key segments, FSMA requires companies—including those involved with refrigerated warehousing and trucking—to be proactive in providing a safe food supply. The Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) rule, for example, lays out the foundation of preventive food safety, and it applies to domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold human food.

Compliance dates for businesses impacted by FSMA were staggered over several years, according to the FDA, and range from six months to three years after the posting of the final FSMA rules (depending on the business’ size and role in the food manufacturing or handling process). The final rule was published in September of 2015, and the rule went into effect in November of 2015. Larger companies had to be in compliance by September 2016, for example, and small businesses have until September 2017.

Get Going Now

As shippers scramble to meet their respective mandates for FSMA compliance, a number of trade organizations, consultancies, and software developers are working to come up with solutions that help companies achieve this goal. For example, the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), has developed resources to help firms strengthen their food safety programs and meet the robust requirements of the FSMA preventive controls rule.

“In response to FSMA, SQFI has developed a voluntary Preventive Controls audit checklist and guidance document for stakeholders to use as a guide for identifying the necessary steps to bridge any gaps between a company’s SQF Program and the PC rule,” according to the organization’s website.

At Hanson Logistics, we’re here to help shippers ensure that their cold supply chains are both FSMA compliant and safe for consumption. Please contact us today to discuss your company’s requirements.

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Six Frozen Food Facts for 2017

Humans have used freezing as a means of safely preserving food for thousands of years, but it took the technological genius of Clarence Birdseye in the 1920s to harness the preserving power of freezing food by making the process practical. According to the Frozen Food Foundation, this pioneer’s development of the double-belt freezer recreated nature’s freezing process and expanded its potential by moving it beyond the limits of climate and season, the foundation reports.

“Building on this ability to freeze food anywhere, any time of year,” the Foundation notes, “Birdseye introduced the first line of frozen foods for sale to the public in 1930 and the frozen food industry was born.”

Key Trends to Watch

Having withstood the test of time, frozen foods remain a popular choice for consumers in search of a viable, affordable alternative to fresh options. Take a look at some of the trends that are shaping the industry this year. Here are six to be aware of be aware of as we progress further into the New Year:

  1. The frozen food industry has a major impact on the U.S. economy.  Based on the American Frozen Food Institute’s (AFFI) most recent numbers, the frozen food industry:
    • Employs 670,000 individuals nationwide
    • Has a current market value of over $53 billion
    • Provides $35 billion in income to those workers
    • Makes $7.2 billion in federal tax payments annually
    • Makes $4.1 billion in state and local tax payments every year
  2. And the buck doesn’t stop there… AFFI says that due to the capital-intensive nature of frozen food production, firms in this sector buy many goods and services from other sectors of the nation’s economy. For example, growers provide the fruit, vegetables, and other fresh foods and frozen food companies then use refrigerated transportation, rapid truck, rail, ship, and air transport and refrigeration and other machinery to create frozen foods. Planning these logistics requires management consulting and supply chain experts, AFFI points out, and freezing and preserving these foods requires specialty machinery, specialty buildings, and electricity to run the refrigeration equipment. “All of these sectors – from the growers to the electric utility – benefit from U.S. frozen food production.”
  3. Nestle USA is leading the charge.  The most significant player in the frozen food segment is Nestlé USA, which manufactures products for almost every single category, according to Statista. Sales of Nestlé USA in the frozen pizza segment, for example, amounted to $411.71 million (USD) in 2016. In addition, retailers’ frozen aisles are carrying brands like DiGiorno (pizza), Stouffer’s (frozen dinner), or Nestlé Drumstick (frozen novelties).
  4. Frozen continues to offer unsurpassed value for today’s consumers. By their very nature, frozen foods are often lower in cost-per-serving—and have a much greater shelf life—than their refrigerated counterparts. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be more easily portioned and stored for later use, thus reducing the risk of spoilage and food waste while further increasing consumer value.
  5. No one wants to cook anymore. Over the past 50 years, as the amount of time Americans spent in meal preparation has steadily declined, frozen foods have remained a convenient staple, according to the Frozen Food Foundation, adapting its packaging and products to better accommodate new developments, such as the microwave oven.
  6. Consumers see frozen foods as a healthy choice. Health-conscious Americans have discovered the nutritional advantages of frozen vegetables and fruits to be easy-to-use key components to a healthy family menu. “Waistline watchers have found a friend in the numerous low-fat frozen food offerings,” the Frozen Food Foundation points out, “while the economically conscious continue to value the diversity of frozen food possibilities that tempt the taste buds without breaking the bank.”