Supply Chain & Logistics

Foodservice leaders embrace supply chain standards

GS1 US announced that 55 foodservice processors, distributors and operators have launched the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative and have funded the GS1 US Team for Foodservice to guide execution.

The Initiative recommends the adoption of a common timeline for voluntary individual company implementation of GS1 Global standards for company identification, item identification and product description; 45 of the Initiative’s founding member companies have already voluntarily committed to this common timeline. Founding food processor member companies include:  

1. Campbell North America Foodservice
2. Cargill
3. ConAgra Foods
4. General Mills, Inc.
5. Heinz North America Foodservice
6. Hormel Foods
7. J.R. Simplot Company
8. Kellogg Company Specialty Channels
9. Kraft Foodservice
10. Land O’Lakes, Inc.
11. MARS Foodservices US
12. McCain Foods USA, Inc.
13.  Nestlé Professional
14. Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation
15. Rich Products Corporation
16. Sara Lee Foodservice
17. Shamrock Foods Company
18. Tyson Foods, Inc. Food Service
19. Unilever Foodsolutions North America
20. Ventura Foods, LLC

The Initiative is striving for 75 percent adoption of GS1 standards throughout the foodservice industry, measured in terms of revenue, by 2015, and is endorsed by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), the National Restaurant Association, and GS1 Canada Foodservice. Industry organizations and founding members of the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative cite three main objectives and industry-wide benefits as a result of companies choosing to adopt and implement GS1 standards:

1. Drive waste out of the foodservice supply chain;

2. Improve product information for customers, and

3. Establish a foundation for improving food safety and traceability.

Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, said “The Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative will have tremendous benefits for restaurants, their guests and their supply chain, and is an important step forward in our continuing efforts to ensure the highest standards for our industry.”

The Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative was formed as a result of a strategic planning process facilitated by Future Perfect Consulting Services. During the six-month process, presidents of foodservice manufacturers, distributors and operators and their supply chain leaders worked with GS1 US, GS1 Canada and Future Perfect to draft a timeline that individual companies could choose to employ in their voluntary adoption and implementation of GS1 standards.

“Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op, LLC, in managing the supply chain exclusively for Yum! Brands, Inc., fully supports the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative and Roadmap,” said Daniel E. Woodside, president and CEO of Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op, LLC. “We began our project in 2005 utilizing standardized bar codes on our product cases anticipating benefits for all our business partners. As we now begin to realize some of those benefits, we are excited to share our learnings with the industry and commit our full support.” Brenda Lloyd, director, Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op, LLC added “it is critical we stay on the forefront of addressing data quality and food safety issues as an industry. We know our business best.  Now is the time, together we can build a strong foundation that works for everyone.”

Founding member manufacturers and distributors agree: “IFMA is fully supportive of voluntary adoption of GS1 standards,” said Tom Sampson, president, Kraft North America Foodservice and 2009 IFMA Chairman of the Board. “Based on Kraft’s experience implementing these standards in Canada, we know data synchronization not only drives out waste and inefficiencies, it also frees up time for manufacturers to collaborate with customers to drive growth. Voluntary adoption of these standards will also create a common foundation for improved product traceability and communication of nutritional information throughout the supply chain,” said Mr. Sampson.

Near-term steps in the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative timeline include:

By Q4 2009: Companies assign GS1 Global Location Numbers to their headquarters.

By Q3 2010: Manufacturers assign GS1 Global Trade Item Numbers to products and include them on order guides and other trading partner documentation.

By Q2 2011: Manufacturers and brand owners will publish product and company identification and related logistics information to trading partners. Distributors retrieve product information; populate back end systems and customer product catalogs.

The Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative welcomes the involvement of all foodservice manufacturers, distributors, operators, industry associations and technology providers. Please visit for more information.

GS1 US is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the adoption and implementation of standards-based, global supply-chain solutions.

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