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Keeping Up With Ever-Changing Labelling Demands

The demands for food labelling are constantly changing, with manufacturers required to disclose more information than ever before.

Australian food manufacturers, for example, are currently grappling with changes to country of origin labelling that were implemented in 2016. Now, country of origin labels require more specific information, including whether a product was grown or produced in Australia, the percentage of the ingredients that are from Australia, if the product was sourced from overseas but packed in Australia, or if the product was produced and packed overseas. Food manufacturers have two years to implement these changes to their labelling.

Changes like these cost manufacturers time and money, which is heightened by the fact that labelling requirements change so frequently. Aside from production costs, manufacturers can also face significant fines if they make a mistake in their labelling. And to complicate matters even further, companies that export overseas are subject to even more rules, needing to keep up with labelling requirements in their home country while also satisfying the needs of each country they export to.

At the same time, consumer demands are changing, necessitating further changes to product labelling. Product labels including key phrases such as “vegan”, “gluten-free”, “organic” and “fair trade” (for example) have become increasingly appealing to consumers. Consumers are demanding more information about how their food was produced and what ingredients it includes, meaning that food and beverage manufacturers need to remain agile and ready to adapt, whether it be to satisfy new legislation or remain competitive in the market.

All of this can be overwhelming for manufacturers, especially those that rely on paper-based or manual processes to meet regulations and consumer demands. What manufacturers need is a solution that consolidates all product-related information, such as suppliers, raw materials, ingredients and formulas into a single, accurate database.

This is where an integrated product lifecycle management (PLM) solution comes in. A PLM solution not only captures and stores all relevant product formulation data on a common platform, but it also directly links data to a labelling module. Optiva, the PLM system from Infor, provides tools to achieve compliance with regulatory agencies worldwide, such as for labelling and nutritional declarations..

Not only is this an effective way to maintain label compliance, but it is also an efficient means of fast and cost-effective product development. This is because by examining data in the system, the manufacturer can quickly see when a downstream piece of information needs to be updated. The manufacturer can also assess formulas at any time. For example, when a new regulation is suddenly announced, the manufacturer can instantly see how many products are affected and automatically alter the formula for those products.

Importantly, a PLM solution can help break down silos of information within a business, fostering a two-way flow of data between people and departments. Not only this, but Infor’s PLM solution allows information to be shared with suppliers, and can even extend collaboration across a business’s value chain. Specifically, when the manufacturer shares selected databases with suppliers, they no longer need to manually enter ingredients. Instead, this information can be added to the system at source, placing responsibility on the supplier to provide data that is active and current.

For more information about Infor’s PLM solution, visit www.infor.com

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