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Thinking Big - Food Industry Has an Appetite For Big Data

Big data is getting big buzz among food industry leaders as a potential game changer in the critical arenas of food safety, product development and supply chain management.

Food chain traceability

Big data is on everyone’s lips and corporate agendas these days. It is the next big thing that can change the playing field in many industries, with the potential to drastically improve efficiency, ways of approaching the market and stakeholders, and to manage an increasingly complex risk picture.

There is a strong need across all industries and sectors to use data analytics for managing performance and risk; to turn massive amounts of data into actionable knowledge, insights and predictions.  

Every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created, gathered from sensors, posts to social media sites, purchase transaction records and so on, including the data generated through companies’ daily operations. It doesn’t get much bigger than that, but the ability to “think big” does not come from the sheer volume itself but what you do with it.

As a leading certification body for the GFSI food safety certification schemes, DNV GL Business Assurance is exploring new applications of big data to advance the goals of a safer, more reliable food supply. DNV GL itself is the steward of deep data repositories generated by the auditing process of GFSI certification. This information may hold keys to helping food organizations to take protective measures against safety hazards and prevent negative public health impact. 

“For organizations in the food industry, the potential is enormous,” says Kathleen Wybourn, Food & Beverage Director for DNV GL. “The sourcing, production and delivery of food and beverage products worldwide generates enormous volumes of information. Now we have the ability to use that data to make the food supply safer, protect customers from food fraud and run businesses more efficiently.”

Ms. Wybourn’s views are shared by most food industry leaders. Kathleen was a keynote speaker on Food Fraud and Mitigation Strategies at the Food Safety Live 2016 attended by over 540 organizations around the world, where her presentation got majority of questions in the following debate. 

DNV GL will also host a Special Session with the same topic at the Global Food Safety Initiative Conference in Houston in February 2017, where leaders will learn safety hazards mitigation strategies, including using big data. 

“Big data is the key to what we do as a company – help food businesses to be ‘safer, smarter, greener,’” says Ms. Wybourn. 

Is the industry ready to take advantage? 

In an effort to see how prepared food industry really is, DNV GL has conducted a survey of big data in various industries, including food and beverage. 

This survey involved 1,189 professionals across industries worldwide and highlighted that big data is seen as a reason for optimism from a business point of view. It represents an opportunity for a large part of the participants, and half indicated that they had already undertaken specific actions. Although the awareness of its importance is noteworthy and widespread, the ability to leverage big data to boost productivity and value creation is still rare. However, 76% of respondents plan to maintain or increase big data investments. Access the full DNV GL ViewPoint survey at the ViewPoint website.

As the survey and market show, when critical decisions are based on data, reliability becomes a vital factor in managing risk and outcomes. From unintentional skewing, through malicious cyber-attacks to conscious tampering - the need for robust data quality and algorithms used is increasing. DNV GL is focused on providing its customers with the ability to leverage these new technologies in the efforts to increase value creation in a safe and sustainable way.

For more information, FSMA compliance certifications and trainings, please visit http://www.dnvglcert.com or contact George Gansner tel. (832) 4931098, email George.gansner@dnvgl.com. 

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