Certification seen as ‘Passport to Trade’ for Global Players in Food Safety

Survey found 79% of food industry leaders place certification as top priority to stay within regulations; while still exploring applications of new technologies

Key findings

  • Improved ability to comply with regulations is the highest rated benefit of certification, with improved safety and quality coming in second.
  • Operational risk, such as contamination, and the lack of food safety culture are the overwhelming food safety threats for firms 
  • 1,600+ industry experts surveyed across the globe as part of DNV GL and GFSI survey “Food safety: what’s next to assure its future?” 

Nice, France, 28 February 2019 - DNV GL, one of the world’s leading certification bodies, and the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), powered by The Consumer Goods Forum, announced this week the results of a survey on the future of global food operations at the GFSI Conference in Nice. The survey, which includes feedback from more than 1600 industry experts, identified certification as the most efficient tool for the advancement of food safety. 

According to the survey, a clear majority of companies view certification a necessity and a ‘passport to trade’ in business (79%) whilst more than half (53%) view certification as a means of improving food safety across the industry. Improved ability to comply with regulations (86%) is the highest rated benefit of certification, with improved safety and quality coming in second.

In an environment where the supply chain is stricter than ever and pressure to manage food safety throughout the value chain is increasing, certification holds the key to driving improvements across the industry’s food safety programmes and supply chains. 

The industry places certification as a top priority, while industry leaders are exploring how to practically apply digital solutions to improve food safety. Today only 1 in 10 companies are currently using new digital technologies to a great extent to ensure food safety but firms responded more positively in the longer term, with that number rising to almost 4 in 10. More than a quarter of companies saying they do not know how much they will invest in digital solutions in the next 12 to 18 months and 14% answered that they will not spend in this area at all.  

Veronique Discours-Buhot, Director at the Global Food Safety Initiative says: “Certification is a rising topic of conversation for key actors of the food industry, especially as it presents massive opportunity. The results of the survey clearly show that certification is at the heart of businesses looking to drive positive change across their value chains. 

Manufacturers and retailers must maintain full transparency in the certification process to help bridge the trust gap between their efforts and consumers’ concerns. Although there is still a tentative approach to technology investment, having the correct framework in place will let organisations focus on producing safer products, while keeping the consumer at the heart.” 

Ingunn Midttun Godal, Global Director Business Development, DNV GL-Business Assurance says: “The survey underscores that food safety remains core for all players in the value chain, driven by consumer health, compliance and customer needs. Certification continues to be central in managing risks and providing benefits throughout the supply chain. And not surprisingly, those taking a holistic approach benefit the most. 

Looking ahead, food safety culture and digitalisation are rising opportunities. The rise of Food safety culture on the agenda emphasises the human element. New digital technologies do not seem to be a widespread means to address food safety. However, we already see companies benefitting, increasing transparency in the certification process, managing supply chains and building consumer trust. Digitalisation offers new opportunities to advance food safety and the only way to fully utilise the potential is to continue to work together.”