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SugarCreek: Brandworthy Food Solutions

This Is How the Fast Food Industry Will Be Graded on Sustainability

Posted by Chris Dixon

Jun 17, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Local-sourcing. Organic. Free-from. Sustainable sourcing comes with a lot of buzzwords. And when it takes a significant investment of time and capital for a fast food brand to shift suppliers or alter sourcing practices, it’s critical that a brand knows a particular trend has staying power before launching any sustainability initiatives.

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, QSR

Why You Need to Influence Sustainable Development in Your Fast Food Supply Chain

Posted by Jim Coughlin

Jun 13, 2016 12:00:00 PM

When the media first began covering sustainability with regularity, the fast food industry was one of many that was slow to react. Perhaps corporate executives thought that consumer interest in the idea was a passing fad, and that it would soon be forgotten. Sustainability has, of course, worked its way both into the mainstream consciousness and into the mission statements of many corporations as it becomes increasingly obvious that it is a concept that is not going anywhere. Indeed, it looks to become even more important in the decision making process of consumers as time goes on.

With all of this in mind, it would be wise for the fast food industry to try to keep up with the trend and provide the sustainability that consumers seek. To do this, fast food supply chain managers need to check their fast food supply chain sources to make sure they provide the sustainable solutions they need.

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR

Can Fast Food Suppliers Keep Up With Industry Sustainability Efforts?

Posted by Jerry Leeper

Jun 10, 2016 11:30:00 AM

In the last decade, food trends and consumer spending habits have gone hand-in-hand. Movements like low-carb, paleo and clean eating influenced not only the menus of existing QSR chains, but inspired the creation of new, niche QSR brands as well. The latest shift in consumer demand has proven a little more challenging for the fast food supply chain, however, forcing procurement teams to go beyond finding an exotic new ingredient or recipe and subverting the very concept of the supply chain as it stood.

While price remains, necessarily, a large deciding factor, it is no longer the sole motivator behind provider selection. That honor increasingly rests with sourcing. Can the demands of a supply chain in the fast food industry outpace the looming sustainability issues from largely untested specialty suppliers?

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR

The Impact of Farm-to-Table Eating on the Fast Food Supply Chain

Posted by Lance Layman

Jun 6, 2016 12:00:00 PM

We hear a lot about farm-to-table eating. But what has been its impact on the fast food industry?

Adapting to the farm-to-table trend can be a tricky challenge for QSR chains. While value is still driving many fast food decisions for Americans, brands must make an effort to begin offering options that cater to diners’ more ethically driven and health-conscious decisions.

Today, let’s take a look at some of the challenges fast food chains face and at some of the practical ways that QSR supply chain managers and chefs are meeting them.

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR

Sustainable Sourcing Isn't "Set and Forget" for Fast Food

Posted by Dan Barton

May 30, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Cost per unit, consumer satisfaction, shelf life of ingredients: for a busy QSR chain, the idea of supply chain sustainability can easily be eclipsed by more immediate concerns. The desire to cross a nagging line off the to-do list can make the idea of a one-and-done solution understandably attractive. In all other aspects of the business, a firm price tag or goal drives the method, not the other way around. Sustainability isn't "checked off" quite so easily, however. It's much more of a moving target than a finished line to be crossed. 

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR

3 Ways the Fast Food Industry Can Go Sustainable in Meat and Poultry Sourcing

Posted by Alan Riney

May 27, 2016 3:00:00 PM

We’ve heard a lot about fast food chains sourcing cage-free eggs, organic ingredients, non-GMO foods and sustainably raised meat. But another growing trend in the industry has been a move toward serving only antibiotic-free meat.

Late last year, for example, the deli sub chain Subway announced that it would begin transitioning to serve antibiotic-free poultry by the end of 2016, with a complete switch to antibiotic-free beef and pork by 2025. In doing so, Subway joined Chipotle, Chik-Fil-A and even McDonald’s (which has promised to source antibiotic-free poultry) in making a commitment to make such a switch.

Why the trend? Much of it has to do with consumers’ demands.

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Proteins, Supply Chain, QSR

3 Quick Steps a Fast Food Chain Can Take Toward Achieving Sustainable Sourcing

Posted by Jerry Leeper

May 16, 2016 12:30:00 PM

Achieving true sustainability in a fast food supply chain takes careful planning and forethought, smart investments and ongoing attention to detail. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be an all or nothing affair.

What are the reasons that sustainability has now become a necessary investment for QSR? For one, younger consumers — Gen Xers, Millennials and Digital Natives in particular — demand it. Second, it’s more profitable over the long-term. And third, because ethical business practices are also best business practices.

That all adds up to mean that any steps taken toward making a QSR business more sustainable are positive steps. You don’t need to become carbon-neutral, zero waste and completely green in the next year. But you do need to show that you’re willing and able to make changes.

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR

Is a Fast Food Chain's Commitment to Sustainability a Predictor of Success?

Posted by Steve Shutte

May 13, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The fast food industry is, for the most part, present-focused. Brands gain a competitive advantage by being the first to adopt the latest trends, to work with the fastest producers. It’s all about who’s bigger, better and faster.  Sustainability, which champions a "low and slow" approach, seems better suited to the artisan pulled pork sandwiches of fast casual than the bacon double cheeseburgers of the drive-thru window. For the fast food industry, expediency will always remain a core goal in supply chain performance, but that is — almost ironically — exactly why sustainability is so important.

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR

How the Fast Food Industry Can Make Sustainability Affordable

Posted by Frank Barcelona

Apr 25, 2016 12:00:00 PM

We know that "sustainable" doesn't come cheap. As we've recently discussed, it can take a long time and a tremendous financial investment just to develop a sustainable supply line — especially for niche ingredients. But Millennial consumers are clearly engaged with the sustainable food movement. Fast casual success stories like Chipotle — which takes great pains to source sustainable, non-antibiotic and non-GMO ingredients — prove it.

"Red Lobster, Olive Garden, TGIFridays, IHOP, Applebee’s and Chili’s combined are worth less than Chipotle," noted EcoWatch. "We won’t likely see any of the major fast food brands slip away any time soon, but they will have to reinvent their offerings to appeal to a new generation of diners."

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR

One Thing Every Fast Food Procurement Director Must Understand About Sustainability

Posted by Jerry Leeper

Apr 18, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Food procurement managers know: When you're leading a fast food franchise in the charge toward sustainability, your ability to source sustainable ingredients will almost always be outpaced by consumer demand. Tastes change quickly, but production capacity takes time to bring online.

The problem is, you can't afford to ignore changing consumer tastes. And you can't afford not to understand how they were derived.

Wendy's story serves as an illustration. The venerable Columbus-based fast food chain needed a way to appeal to Millennial consumers who had been deserting them in favor of fast-and-fresh concepts like Chipotle. So Wendy's test kitchen developed a new series of seasonal salad products that incorporated fresh fruits in unexpected flavor combos.

The problem? Blackberries.

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Topics: Food Service, Sustainability, Supply Chain, QSR