The role of food packaging, and subsequently repacking by wholesale food distributors, helps keep this vital supply chain safe and efficient.
“Think about it, without a regulated system of food packing processes, materials and systems, we would be no further ahead than if we were still in the dark ages,” says dry blending and custom packing company Dure Foods.
Dure Foods says the importance of packaging in the food industry is manyfold including:
- Allows for easy transport of goods
- Protects the integrity of food products
- Ensures the separation from harmful chemicals, particles, bacteria, and pests
- Allows for food labeling and other information such as ingredients for consumers, and for compliance with laws and regulations
Food Safety and the Role of Food Packaging
Food Processing says that the role of packaging in food safety cannot be overstated.
“When we think and talk about food safety, an important factor is often ignored. Consumers, media, regulators and industry tend to focus on the product and not on the safety of its packaging, but packaging is a critical component of the overall food safety process,” wrote Craig Casillas in Food Processing.
Packaging takes on an even greater role as the food supply chain becomes increasingly global.
“Now more than ever, as food distribution networks globalize, packaging plays a vital role in ensuring the final product is safe and secure for consumption,” says Casillas.
Food Packaging Comes in All Shapes and Sizes
Food packaging comes in all shapes and sizes and can be either cardboard, glass, plastic, or metal.
“Different types of packaging will depend on the size and nature of your food product,” says Dure Foods. “For example, some vendors bulk-sell large amounts of a product using cardboard as a form of packaging. They may also have internal packaging that further protects the product. Suppliers of individual beverages typically use custom glass or plastic containers to transport and sell their products.”
While food safety emphasis is often at the cultivation, manufacturing, and/or preparation stage in the supply chain, contamination and mislabeling in the packaging stage are often overlooked.
“The only way to shore up defenses against an outbreak and mitigate any failures in packaging labeling is to review and prepare against the factors at play in the packaging process and ensure that manufacturing practices are adhering to all safety and quality standards,” writes Casillas.
Wholesale Food Distributors: The Farm-to-Table Link
Wholesale food distributors are often a crucial farm-to-table link.
“Food wholesalers buy products in bulk and sell them on to a retailer to generate revenue for themselves (not the manufacturer). They serve as an intermediary between a food producer and businesses that supply food directly to customers, such as restaurants,” says food distributor Buffalo Market.
Wholesale food distributors must keep track of stock arriving to their warehouses, that is then parceled out to customers in local shipments and deliveries.
It should be noted that the food industry often breaks up these “middle men” into two distinct categories:
- Food Distributors: Business that distributes food, beverages and other items to other businesses that supply the public such as restaurants, grocery stores, and schools.
- Food Wholesalers: Business that provides products in large quantities to retailers, restaurants, and others that provide food to consumers.
“A food distributor has a relationship with product manufacturers, such as a brand producing tinned tomatoes or boxed cereal. The distributor connects the company behind said products to another entity within the supply chain, such as a retailer,” explains Buffalo Market. “Food wholesalers buy products in bulk and sell them on to a retailer to generate revenue for themselves (not the manufacturer). They serve as an intermediary between a food producer and businesses that supply food directly to customers, such as restaurants.”
Food wholesalers often must repackage items to move them along to their customers.
Food Repacking: Achieving Efficiency and Traceability
Both packaging and repackaging are essential parts of the successful warehouse effort for wholesale food distributors.
Sometimes the repacking is needed to properly package the food item for distribution after it has arrived from the grower or source provider, or it can be the simple matter of taking items that are packed in large bulk quantities and breaking them up into smaller lots for the customer.
Other changes in your warehouse and operations can make repacking an option.
“Repackaging is a type of value-added service that takes place whenever a change or reconfiguration needs to be made to a product,” says Lean Supply Solutions. “Other possible reasons can include making adjustments based on unique customer requests or to make a change to any pre-assembled kits your warehouse makes use of.”
Utilizing FreshByte Software for Repacking
Maintaining efficiency and traceability of all ingredients and products used means using a solution such as FreshByte Software.
“Our repack module allows for one or more inventory items – including supply materials such as boxes and lids, as well as sundry costs such as labor and equipment overhead, to be reprocessed into one or more new inventory items,” explained FreshByte’s Charles Butler.
When the repack is completed, the software reduces raw materials used from their previous inventory and adds them to the newly created item.
“The FreshByte Software repack module also includes full bar coding and ingredient printing features, as well as customer labeling,” added Butler. “No matter how many repacking processes an ingredient or item undergoes, a data trail is maintained ensuring safety and traceability along the food chain.”
Contact FreshByte Software today to find out more about the repack module and other features that can help you manage your wholesale food distribution business.