As with any emerging industry, organic food production is facing its share of growing pains. Food manufacturers have grown used to processes that, while safe and efficient, do not always fall under the organic umbrella. Below are some of the more common challenges for producing and distributing quality organic foods.
1. You’re racing the clock. Not in all cases, but in many — especially when you consider organic produce and meats. But the ingredients used in producing organic foods are also more susceptible to decay resulting from fluctuations in temperature.
What to do? For food manufacturers accustomed to a more forgiving shelf life, organic food production can be tricky, but the solution can be as simple as smarter tracking. This means using a labeling system that clearly states date of production (or harvesting), date of arrival and any risks specific to the ingredient type. With a “first in, first out” policy, you’re better equipped to battle the clock and deliver organic food products that are safe and appealing.M.p>
2. Humans aren’t the only ones who want your food. The war between pests and humans is as old as the species, and it probably won’t end any time soon. However, modern food manufacturing processes gave us a clear edge over rodents, insects and bacteria. By moving in the direction of organic foods, we’re revisiting some old challenges made more complicated by unprecedented population growth.
What to do? A key criterion of organic foods is the absence of chemical pest control at every stage. Rather, organic farmers have a different set of tools for keeping pests at bay. Diversified crops, for example, protect against a single crippling infestation. And livestock such as chickens are given more space to move, meaning less need for antibiotics in close quarters. Handlers are also turning to natural repellents such as vinegar and citrus to protect vulnerable ingredients.
3. Your consumer base is expansive. Before modern manufacturing, organic foods were almost exclusively distributed locally. That’s harder to do in a culture of commuting and online ordering.
What to do? In this regard, temperature control is crucial. Just as important as reaching the ideal temperature is maintaining it. Nothing speeds rot like a temperature swing. To fully embrace organic foods in a large market, invest in top-quality climate control for your vehicles.
4. Supply is limited. By its nature, organic food requires more land and resources. As such, it can be tricky to edge out the competition for quality ingredients.
What to do? In short, do your homework and plan ahead. What crops are in season? What ingredients are ideal to your region? The more you understand the story of your food products, the better you can serve the consumer.