Sample Research Paper on Challenges of the Global Food Supply Chain

Question One

The global food supply is sophisticated due to the numerous challenges that are involved.
While food is essential for human existence, significant disruptions have threatened supply
chains. Some of the challenges include disasters, political unrest, and massive food recalls.
Moreover, issues related to climate change and natural disasters are highly common these days
leading to major delays and unnecessary suffering among the consumers. The biggest challenge
that has affected most retailers is the ability to provide fresh commodities on time. Most supply
chains that have been able to solve this problem have managed to gain increased confidence
among the customers and, thus, increased sales. Freshness is the most vital consideration when it
comes to food purchases among customers. Other considerations include quality, packaging, and
other significant adjustments that are critical when it comes to meeting customer needs. As s
result, major supply chains have resulted in the development of digital technologies aimed at
reducing challenges involved in providing quality foods to the customer.
The demand for quality, safe, and fresh foods has presented major retailers with the most
formidable challenge in supplying foods to all customers in every corner. Major food chains
around the globe are facing problems such as inadequate storage facilities, delays in
transportation, and unexpected industrial sabotages (Challenges of the Global Food Supply
Chain, 2020). There are increasing trends among the population, whereby most of them get ill
from using contaminated foods. With the rising demand for fresh and high-quality commodities,
the retailers have resulted in various ways in which they can manage to provide fresh
commodities in time and through cost-effective methods. The complexity of transportation
systems has made it impossible to move and store foods safely. Technology has become an

integral solution to solving these challenges. In this case, the internets of things have made it
possible for retailers to forecast demand and hence, they are in a position to make prior
arrangements to supply the required commodities (Carthy, 2018). Moreover, computerized stock
handling technology such as first in first out (FIFO) and first expired first out (FEFO) have
upgraded stock handling techniques leading to reduced food wastage and increased effectiveness
(Carthy, 2018). Finally, refrigeration technology has enhanced food supply by providing
temperature control techniques that protect foods from pathogens by limiting microbial growth.
Therefore, retailers have been able to maintain the freshness of foods, which is an integral factor
in enhancing quality.
The traceability and transparency regarding whereabouts the cargo to the final customer
has affected most food supply chains for long. There are huge numbers of players involved,
which makes it harder to for companies to trace their supplies (Challenges of the Global Food
Supply Chain, 2020). In this case, the retailers find it hard to share accurate information on
whereabouts their cargo is in terms of time and place. Tracking and tracing devices have been
developed that are capable of monitoring locations for trucks and containers in the course of their
journeys (Carthy, 2018). The systems have also managed to trace defective and risky food
products. They are customized to withdraw unsafe products, thereby enhancing customer safety
and transparency.
Supply chains have, in the recent past, been affected by increasing cases of fraud and
organized fraud. The problem of counterfeit goods and organized mafias have affected most
supply chains in Europe and other parts of the world based on the Interpol seizure of fake
products in 2016 (Challenges of the Global Food Supply Chain, 2020). Moreover, cases of
disasters have increased the number of many roadblocks that affect the supply of essential

commodities (Banker, 2019). To solve this challenge, developed food supply chains have
implemented hi-tech monitoring systems that enable the companies to monitor the state of
products in transits (Carthy, 2018). Furthermore, big data, in combination with the internet of
things, have increased intelligence systems. Increased intelligence has provided the much needed
global scale infrastructure updates enabling the companies to evade possible problems involving
organized crimes and frauds among staff.
Furthermore, tighter legislation acts have affected most supply chains whereby, most of
them have experienced difficulties trying to comply with existing actions. For instance, in the
United States, the 2001 Bioterrorism Act requires that food supply chains strictly identify the
sources and origin of their foods, especially the ingredients failure to which there are tough
penalties (Challenges of the Global Food Supply Chain, 2020). As such, it is the responsibility of
supply chains to be updated and conform to the required regulations. In this case, by applying
artificial intelligence, the organizations will be in a position comb through all the regulations
related to supply chains and adhere to them. In doing this, the organization will be able to grasp
all trending information, local events, and hence, will be able to plan and be compatible with the
Finally, the problem of waste increase and food loss in the supply is on the increase.
Statistically, over 30% of the overall human consumption on food is wasted along the supply
chains (Challenges of the Global Food Supply Chain, 2020). Normally, this is a problem of
hiccups in the food production and supply chain, which are adversely affected by severe
technical limitations. Some of the limitations include lack of storage facilities, weak food
handling procedures, and lack of efficient marketing systems, which results in low movement of
food products. In this regard, the application of computer augmented reality and visions allows

for the detection of changes in food products (Hagen, 2018). The changes may include ripening
of fruits, meat tenderness, among other changes. If these changes remain undetected, they lead to
unprecedented damages and eventual losses that can be controlled.

Question Two

Most perishable supply chains are faced with numerous problems. However, the primary
problem for thee supplies chains, which creates massive challenges for the organizations are
maintaining the freshness of their products. The majority of consumers, about 93% of them,
prefer freshness as their primary attribute in ascertaining the quality of purchases. Therefore,
perishable consumers work extremely hard to ensure that the commodities that reach customers
are fresh and of the best quality. To achieve this, they have to make numerous adjustments aim at
making sure that the freshness of products is maintained until it reaches the customer. For this
reason, most of the supply chains have implemented diverse digital technology options aimed at
enhancing the freshness of the products. In trying to meet customers’ expectations, the supply
chains endure several challenges compared to canned food supply chains.
In the first place, consumers pay much attention to the freshness of commodities. Food
loss is, therefore, a significant problem that has adverse effects on the earnings of the
organizations. The perishability of commodities creates a significant problem in the supply chain
processes, planning, and distribution of the products (Aleruchi, 2019). Supply chain managers,
therefore, have to come up with ways aimed at mitigating organizational losses. In this case, the
supply managers must adopt practices that reduce losses. The supply chains have to be
innovative and develop ways that lead to more control in managing the deterioration of losses
arising from perishables. Sometimes, the innovative strategies are so costly for organizations
leading to more challenges for the organizations.

Secondly, the organizations are in constant haste to ensure the freshness of products. In
this case, transport and distribution (T&D) is an essential part of handling the perishability of
perishables. The ease with which products are transported to their destinations is integral in
reducing the losses. To avoid losses, supply chains result in aggressive transportation and highly
costly distribution approaches and at times, it becomes difficult to realize the speculated turn of
events. In most cases, T&D is full of stumbling blocks that make them inefficient. Moreover,
many costly assets are needed to make transportation and distribution plans efficient. Special
trucks, containers, and loading equipments are required to handle the products. Statistically, the
equipments and the logistical plans needed to transport the products have doubled the costs of
operations, which are not the cases for the canned supply chains. Furthermore, there are cases of
transit lags that are beyond supply chain control. Cases of traffic jams, possible scarcity of
petroleum, and staffs strike at times lead to abnormal delays that are costly for the organizations.
Inventory control creates numerous challenges for supply chains. In North America, it
estimated that over $7 billion of commodities spoils on its way to the desired market (Kinsey,
2017). In most cases, this happens at the back of the truck or, in some cases, while in the
warehouses. The perishables are sensitive products that need hi-tech care, which is beyond the
reach for most supply chains. In this case, most of these firms deal with numerous losses that
threaten their survival. Despite the advances in technology, the fresh produce still undergoes
irreversible changes in the quality between harvest and the point of sale. Temperature control is
the most crucial aspect of maintaining the quality of most perishables. Usually, it is hard to
detect the point in which cooling is needed, especially during harvest and post-harvest times. As
such, the results are massive losses where billions of dollars are lost, a scene that can be
prevented. According to a study performed by Verigo in the US, it was found that 27% of pallets

were unsatisfactorily cooled (Kinsey, 2017). Customers complain of buying groceries only to
find them with molds when stored in the fridges. The spoilage arising from poor inventory
management procedures has presented a significant dilemma to the suppliers and health experts
in most countries.
The poor handling of the inventories has resulted in increased incidences of illnesses. For
instance, in the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention noted that out 1 in 6
Americans or roughly about 48 million Americans report food-borne illnesses (Pal & Kant,
2020). Out of these cases, 80% are related to meat and fish issues, while the rest are associated
with eggs and dairy products. Annually, over 3000 Americans die of food-borne illnesses, while
over 128,000 are hospitalized due to related complications. Due to this, most customers have
developed an increased dislike for perishable goods, which has been detrimental for most
perishable supply chains.
Furthermore, the ever-increasing costs of perishables, logistics plans, and losses have
adversely affected most supply chains. Rapid food spoilage has reduced profitability and the
impacting sustainability of most supply chains (Moghaddam, 2019). Moreover, issues such as
products’ delayed arrival at the desired destinations, complex regulations, and the resulting harsh
penalties have altogether increased costs of operations to undesired levels. The increased costs of
operations have considerably pushed the prices of commodities. Consequently, the demand for
the products has reduced, making sustainability hard to achieve. As a result, most supply chains
have been left struggling with reducing profits while costs and debts rise sharply.

Question Three

Improved living standards demand better foods that are fresh and organic foods that are
of high value. With the decreasing demand for frozen vegetables and canned foods, it is up to the

perishable chain suppliers to be innovative and develop mechanisms that will maintain the
freshness of products. However, the short life span of most fresh products presents with
numerous challenges of maintaining the products’ freshness (Maras, 2016). Perishability is a
factor of delays, high temperatures, and poor handling techniques that leads to products’ decay
and loss of marginal value. Therefore, a better storage technology platform ought to address the
aspects which contribute immensely to perishability. In the first place, temperature variance is a
major contributor to perishability. Therefore, the technological platform ought to develop an all
in one platform that massively addresses all temperature needs of varying products. In light of
doing this, the platform should deploy hundreds of temperature sensors that well suited for
On the other hand, the platform should also comprise inventory handling techniques that
reduce damages and probably increase the marginal value of products. The technology should
comprise of non-thermal pasteurization methods aimed at killing pathogens. Moreover, it should
encompass hydrostatic pressures enough to limit the overall growth of microbiological
organisms that contribute to food decay (Maras, 2016). The technology should also major in
incorporating smaller levels of freezing solutions, which have adverse effects on individuals. The
best cooling system to use should be one that utilizes natural carbon dioxide readily available
from the environment. The method is environmentally compliant and is free from future
instances of taxation and legislation. By so doing, temperature fluctuations will be taken care of
and any other environmental factor that would enhance the growth of micro-organisms.

Question Four

Warehouse management systems (WMS) must develop criteria with which fresh food
products are traced to ensure freshness. To do this, there are specifics aspects of product

information that require scrutiny to ensure that the product at hand is fresh and present no harm
to the user. Based on the rapid growth being witnessed in food management, customers are
willing to buy fresh while the retailers are working tirelessly to maintain freshness (McKinsey &
Company, 2017). In the first place, WMS should consider information regarding the origin of the
product. By doing this, it will be in a position to determine if the product has been grown
according to the required standards recognized by health organizations. Some products have
chemicals that prolong their lifespan and could be unfit for human consumption. On the other
hand, WMS will be in a position to establish if the product meets the existing legislation
regarding the freshness of products.
Moreover, WMS should concentrate more on obtaining information related packaging,
which identifies data sharing and product identification. Mostly, it is from these data that most
warehouses can develop ways in which the product will be stored and issued to the customer
before it loses its freshness. Among the most critical information to check in this stage are
barcodes that will enable both the warehouse staff and customers to do self scans to ascertain the
freshness of the products (McKinsey & Company, 2017). Furthermore, data such as the date of
expiry, nutritional value, and probably allergen content will provide more details about a
product's freshness, which can be satisfying for customers. The goal for traceability data will be
aimed at building an integrated fresh food determinant by all sectors and the eventual user.



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