Sharing Industry Insights at the 2023 GFSI Conference

In a well-attended panel discussion at this year’s GFSI Conference, we asked industry experts to share their thoughts on food risk and disruption.

NSF — A Key Industry Partner at the 2023 GFSI Conference

If you were fortunate enough to attend the three-day event in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 24-27, we hope you found the chance to network, share and learn as rewarding as we did. It was a great opportunity, as always, to meet with industry colleagues old and new.

Whether you made it to the event or not, there are still valuable opportunities to engage with what was discussed and uncovered — including industry insights and predictions.

The conference agenda was filled with experts, influencers and community members from across the food and regulatory fields. NSF’s conference contribution featured a panel discussion with three industry experts who discussed the critical topic “Keeping Up With a Changing World: How to Tackle the Top Risks and Disruptions in the Food Supply Chain.”

Our invited panelists included Samuel Barrett (Global Food Safety and Quality Assurance Manager, Yum!), Andrew Clarke (Senior Director, Quality Assurance, Loblaws) and Alison Johnson (Managing Director, Food Forensics), who joined us virtually, with introductions from Pedro Sancha, NSF’s CEO. The panel was moderated by George Gansner​, Senior Managing Director, Consulting, Training, and Digital Solutions, ​NSF​.

Delivering safe, sustainable and affordable food to a growing population is becoming increasingly challenging, with a range of emerging risks. Some of the key learnings from the conference include:

  • The biggest risks are not always the most obvious. It’s important to identify and focus on the risks that matter most, including food pathogens, allergens and fraud.
  • Building resiliency and agility requires a mix of proactive and reactive capabilities, such as diversifying your supplier base and having the ability to reformulate at short notice.
  • Managing risks across the supply chain requires collaboration, which builds trust, transparency and consistently high standards of quality.
  • Investing in attracting, developing and retaining key talent, such as food scientists, and partnering with external food safety experts are crucial to success.

Our panel discussion highlighted the need to work with key supply chain partners to reduce waste, increase supplier loyalty, and mitigate food quality and consumer safety concerns.

Top three takeaways of NSF’s panel discussion:

  1. The ownership for creating a culture of food safety needs to be shared.
  2. Leaders need to help people to grow.
  3. Everyone needs to speak the same food safety language and be empowered to make decisions.

Andrew Clarke

  1. Understand the importance of a vulnerability assessment — it shouldn’t just be a paper exercise.
  2. We need to define our capabilities to understand our strengths and gaps.
  3. With agreed baselines and the time to upskill, we’d be better able to leverage data — with the right skills to interpret and create actionable insights.

Samuel Barrett

  1. We need to recognize that not everyone has the answers, and that is fine. If you don’t know, ask again.
  2. The dangerous position to be in when managing risks is to assume that everyone has all the answers.
  3. Be more prepared for disruptions. It’s critical that we look at different supply chain options and implement integrity programs.

Alison Johnson

Our team were excited to meet old friends and new faces to network and talk about their food safety needs and opportunities to work together.

To continue learning and exploring the topics discussed on our panel, check out the valuable content we’ve prepared to support your business needs. If you are ready to move forward, contact our sales team today.

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