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Posts tagged ‘Mark Dunson’

Food Safety Throughout the Cold Chain “From Farm to Fork”


This is the fourth post in a five-part series on food safety throughout the month of September.

Cold chain management solutions provide oversight and increased visibility to help businesses be more efficient and keep food safe. They can also drive a broader impact and incite industry change, helping to address high stakes global issues:

  • $990 billion in annual global food waste1
  • $32 billion annual energy spend in global markets2
  • $18.2 billion annual facility maintenance cost3

Think of the cold chain as the journey food takes as it moves from its original state throughout the process to end up in a consumer’s home. You may have heard the term “from farm to fork,” which applies here as we talk about maintaining freshness and food safety. The goal is to maintain consistent temperature control throughout the process, which means that freshness is monitored and verified from point to point along the chain.

The cold chain is a complex system with multiple parties responsible and many steps from start to finish – and it gets even more complicated with regulations like the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Retailers are investing more in fresh foods in order to keep up with increasing competition, drive sales growth and protect their brands. Supermarkets are focusing on fresh foods around the perimeter of their stores. Small format retailers, like convenience stores, are introducing new foodservice offerings. Food quality and safety in stores can be maintained through IoT enabled insights with remote monitoring and management services.

Before the food makes it to the retailer, it is shipped through various transportation means. Connected devices used in refrigerated cargo containers and trucks allow real-time product and temperature monitoring during transport of fresh foods.

Currently, a significant amount of data is being collected throughout the cold chain process – in harvest, processing, transportation, distribution and at the retailer – but that data may be sitting separately at each point and is not following the food to the next step; the data is captured but not shared.

This process has traditionally been fragmented, but connected solutions are enabling holistic insights and end-to-end food quality. By moving the data collected at each point into a cloud-based system, it can continue to be captured, stored and analyzed throughout the cold chain process, providing improved insights for more effective operations and informed food quality reporting.


 Because of complex questions about data ownership and historic management of this data within specific applications, the insights and benefits to be gained from this data remain largely unrealized. However, it’s not difficult to envision a near-term future where retailers and others are able to take advantage of a fully connected cold chain solution. That could include utilizing data to validate food safety and potentially creating competitive advantages by authenticating their fresh foods story.

 Emerson has been a longtime leader in cold chain management, serving the global container shipping and food retail industries. Recently expanding our capabilities with investments in cargo solutions through the acquisitions of Locus Traxx and Paksense, Emerson is now able to better provide consistent information and enhanced safe control of food and other temperature-sensitive goods throughout the entire supply chain.

Look for the next post in this series, which will dive deeper into food safety through transportation solutions.

 For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

 Mark Dunson
Group Vice President, Electronics & Solutions

 (1) Source: Food and Agricultural Waste Organization of the United Nations:
(2-3) Estimates based on various sources of public data

To read all posts in our series on food safety for retailers, click on the links below:

  1. Food Safety Remains a Top Priority for Retail Businesses
  2. Prevent Food Safety Issues with Remote Monitoring Services
  3. How Does the Food Safety Modernization Act Impact Food Retailers?
  4. Food Safety Throughout the Cold Chain “From Farm to Fork”
  5. Seven Transportation Monitoring Best Practices to Ensure Food Safety


Three Industry Trends for Leading Convenience Stores to Consider

I recently discussed three trends convenience stores need to be aware of in order to stay competitive in this Convenience Store Decisions article. Here are some of the highlights:


The convenience store space is continuing to evolve to keep up with industry trends and consumer demands. We see the following three trends as important for leading convenience store operators to consider in 2016 and beyond:

  1.  Convergence through convenience and differentiation

Food retail concepts are converging. Shoppers are no longer surprised to see convenience stores that look more like restaurants or smaller format grocery stores that specialize in on-the-go offerings. Flexible infrastructures are needed as retailers adapt to changing store concepts, and there is a greater need for improved equipment operation and maintenance.

  1. Increasing importance on freshness and food quality

While the idea of convenience stores offering fresh, prepared foods is not new, the trend has accelerated over the past few years, and we anticipate it will continue to grow. This leads to increasing importance on authenticating freshness and food quality. Competitive retailers will begin to use intelligent facility systems data to substantiate how their foods remain fresh from “farm to fork.”

  1. Effect of changing regulations on operations

There are three key regulations that will impact foodservice retailers in the coming years. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) changes will result in an increasing importance on collecting and utilizing data related to the safety and integrity of fresh foods. EPA and DOE regulation changes will result in retailers needing to increase their focus on refrigerants and energy efficiency. And finally, workforce regulation changes and increasing labor costs will lead retailers to look to additional technology and automation for solutions.

Read the full article in Convenience Store Decisions here.

And to learn about five emerging trends for supermarket retailers, read this blog post.

Mark Dunson
President, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

Changing Regulations to Impact Retail Businesses

In the January issue of Chain Store Age, we discussed government regulations that will affect supermarket and convenience store retailers in 2016. Below are the highlights:


In 2016, retail chains will continue to face increasing competition and high consumer expectations. Changing regulations will also impact retail businesses. We see three regulatory issues as the most critical for the retail industry this year and beyond:

  1. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
    For retailers offering fresh foods, FSMA will have an impact on food integrity and safety, and may help with reducing food waste. As retailers focus more on “farm to table” freshness, the result will be an increased importance on collecting and utilizing data related to the safety and integrity of foods.
  2. Refrigerant and energy efficiency standards
    The EPA and DOE are working diligently with industry leaders to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, move to climate-friendly refrigerants and employ advanced refrigeration technologies. Most of these technologies are not “drop-in” substitutes for retrofitting. Retailers and their suppliers will need to plan and collaborate to fulfill all guidelines.
  3. Changing workforce regulations
    Retailers will continue to deal with employment and workforce regulation changes. Increasing labor costs will lead retailers to look to additional technology and automation for solutions.

You can read the full Chain Store Age article on page 26 of the January print issue.

 What regulations will impact you most in 2016? Please share your insights in the comments below.

Mark Dunson
President, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

Five Emerging Trends for Supermarket Retailers in 2016

In a recent article for Chain Store Age, I shared insights around five trends facing the supermarket retail industry in 2016. Below are the highlights.

As 2016 begins, supermarket retailers continue to adapt to changing consumer demands, industry issues and regulations affecting their businesses. Some grocers are expanding their footprints, others are narrowing to specialty formats, and some seem to be doing both. All are facing increased competition and high expectations around freshness, convenience and transparency.


We see the emerging trends below critical for retail businesses in 2016 and beyond:

  1. Authenticating the fresh foods story: Fresh is at the forefront. We’re seeing an increase in the overall offering of fresh as retailers aim to meet the expectations of today’s consumer. What is needed now is to prove “fresh.”
  2. Convergence of concepts driven by convenience: Driven by the consumer’s demand for convenience, food retail concepts, formats and locations are converging. Today’s shoppers are pushing retail businesses to expand, invest in fresh foods and provide a consistent brand experience.
  3. Impact of changing regulations: Two regulatory issues, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and refrigerant regulation changes, will be top of mind for food retailers in 2016.
  4. Turning workforce concerns into opportunities: There is an increasing difficulty in maintaining a skilled technical workforce. As the current workforce ages, technical experts are harder to find, and concerns arise around workforce costs.
  5. Consolidation propels operational improvements: As large format stores get even bigger and small format stores become more specialized, retailers are reinvesting in new and/or consolidated infrastructures. With this comes a greater need for improved equipment operation and maintenance.

Read the full article on Chain Store Age here.

And for industry insights on 2016 equipment, design and operations trends, read this recent Grocery Headquarters article.

Mark Dunson
President, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

Food Retailers Respond to Consumer Demand for Convenience and Quality

Increasing consumer demand for fresh, high-quality food options is permeating food retail delivery strategies and increasing competition within the market segments of supermarket, fast food and convenience stores. Case in point: the convenience store segment is expanding foodservice operations in an attempt to provide quality fresh foods that rival, and at times exceed, their fast food competitors.

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