Where Has Your Valentine's Day Candy Been?
February 11, 2015
Candy hearts, boxes of chocolate and cupcakes are all items that crowd store shelves around Valentine’s Day. In fact, millions of pounds of candy are sold each year around the sweetheart holiday, and whether it’s fruit, hamburgers or even candy from a loved one, more and more people want to know where their food is coming from. The trend of tracking food from “farm to fork” is becoming increasingly commonplace, and not just for interested consumers. The tracking technology that makes it happen leads to greater crop yields, healthier foods, and less time spent between the field and your pantry.
To illustrate how that technology works, let’s take a look at the lifecycle of that peanut inside your M&Ms, Snickers or other delicious Valentine’s Day treat.
Flash back to more than a year ago to a small farm in, say, Georgia, the nation’s No. 1 peanut-producing state, which accounts for approximately 49 percent of the nation’s production. Peanut farmers in Georgia and elsewhere use a broader array of IT devices that utilize data to create a more informed picture of crops every single day. For example, technology sensors used to gather soil and weather information help the farmer produce better harvests or bumper crops each season.
Once harvested, the peanuts are shipped off to a warehouse where they are received, scanned, quickly sorted by workers as incoming produce and stored before processing. While stored, the peanuts need to be kept at the proper temperature and humidity conditions to assure they don’t rot.
Sometimes, regardless of these precautions to keep food fresh, food safety can still be a concern. In the United States alone, one in six people are infected by food-borne diseases each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths and an economic burden of around $77.7 billion. However, traceability technology reduces the number of contaminations in the food industry’s value chain by effectively keeping track of the product through each stage and making sure it is moved to its next destination in a timely manner.
After being stored, your peanuts will need to be processed, then packed and loaded onto trucks as efficiently as possible to be shipped to their next destination: the manufacturer.
Since the United States produces more than 1.8 million tons of peanuts per year, one can imagine the fleet of planes, trains and trucks involved in getting peanuts from processors to manufacturers. We’re talking thousands of ‘truck-hours’ spent out on the roads, picking up and delivering shipments across the country.
The latest generation of monitoring devices, including satellite-based tracking and cellular technology, allows fleet managers to remotely view drivers’ routes right down to a minute-by-minute basis, all from an iPhone or an iPad to help boost vehicle efficiency and track driver hours.
Finally, the final product is once again put back on a truck and shipped straight to your local store—just in time to sweeten your Valentine’s Day.
Additional Resources on Food Traceability Solutions
Read how Honeywell Scanning & Mobility solutions – including smart printers and handheld scanners – helped LoBue Citrus improve inventory accuracy and speed up traceability time.
Read how Honeywell Scanning & Mobility mobile computers, vehicle-mount computers, scanners and industrial printers helped Washington Fruit & Produce Co. streamline pallet tagging, inventory management and daily operations, while also helping them comply with new food traceability initiatives and government issued regulations.