‘Limit the supply chain to combat food price hike’ say coldstore experts
Bespoke temperature-controlled food services specialist Rick Bestwick highlights that the hike in food prices poses a serious threat to the food industry, and that a joint approach to identify efficiencies and bring innovation to the supply chain is more important than ever before.
The advice comes following announcements of price increases from major brands due to the Brexit vote, and the publishing of industry figures by Kantar Worldpanel which show that shop prices are on the rise again for the first time since 2014.
Rick Bestwick Managing director, Kevin Hancock says: “The continued weakening of the pound and subsequent high cost of materials and production has meant that the UK food industry is operating in times of great economic uncertainty. Regardless of their size, food manufacturers will likely suffer as they will probably be forced to absorb these increased costs as their customers will always fight any increased prices. One way manufacturers can subsidise these costs is by looking closely at their supply chain, identifying where they can reduce wastage and take out cost.
Starting out life over 30 years ago as a food manufacturer, Rick Bestwick went on to build their first coldstore in 1998, and Kevin explains that their business model has also been centred on delivering customer-focused solutions:
“As a food manufacturer, we experienced the daily challenge of trying to work as efficiently as possible. When we moved into cold storage we knew that to provide the best level of service we needed to talk to our customers and understand their requirements so we could identify efficiencies and help save them money. Today, we are still listening and solving our customer’s problems by developing clever solutions such as microwave up-tempering, a way of getting frozen food to chilled in minutes.”
Manufacturing to forecasts often puts great strain on the supply chain, especially when frozen materials are sourced, due to the length of time of the up-tempering process. This frequently results in either thawing out too much or not enough stock. However, by using microwave technology, an up-tempering technique used by Rick Bestwick since 2002, products can be thawed in minutes instead of hours or even days. With a recent £1.2 million investment in the very latest microwave technology, Rick Bestwick has quadrupled their existing microwave up-tempering capacity, giving manufacturers access to a service which allows for much tighter timescales and enabling them further opportunity to confirm orders with their customers, thus reducing food wastage. Using microwave technology is also proven to reduce drip loss by as much as 6%.
Reviewing the supply chain and fully utilising the services available through cold storage providers may also identify much needed cost savings. Customers of Rick Bestwick are already utilising the benefits of consignment stock where importers can store large quantities of stock which is then drawn upon by multiple customers, allowing customers to take only what they need, when they need it. Such customers benefit from reduced cold storage costs, which continue to be picked up by the importer until stock is transferred, and getting product just-in-time for production.
“There are so many ‘uncontrollables’ that affect manufacturers, bringing in assurances will help the process” says Kevin. “Manufacturers can buy exactly what they want when they want it, just in time to meet production demands.”