Food Industry Launches Groundbreaking Identification Initiative

Oct. 7, 2009
ConAgra, PepsiCo, General Mills, Kraft and other major foodservice manufacturers, distributors and operators have collectively founded the foodservice GS1 US standards initiative.

The 55 companies leading the industry-wide effort seek to develop a common timeline for voluntary, individual company implementation of GS1 global standards for company identification, item identification and product description. Forty-five of the founding member companies have already voluntarily committed to the timeline.

GS1 US, a nonprofit standards organization, administers the Universal Product Code (UPC) and develops worldwide standards for identification codes, data carriers and electronic commerce.

The ultimate goal is 75% adoption of GS1 standards throughout the foodservice industry by 2015. The objectives are three-fold: to drive waste out of the foodservice supply chain, improve product information for customers and establish a foundation for improving food safety and traceability.

The initiative is endorsed by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, the International Foodservice Distributors Association, the National Restaurant Association and GS1 Canada Foodservice.

Key first steps of the initiative include companies assigning GS1 Global Location Numbers to their headquarters by fourth quarter 2009; manufacturers assigning GS1 Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to products and including them on trading-partner documentation by third quarter 2010; and manufacturers and brand owners publishing product and company identification and related logistics information for trading partners by second quarter 2011. Distributors will use product information to populate back-end systems and customer product catalogs.

Trading partners choosing to adopt and implement GS1 standards will access standard product information through the GS1 Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), an open platform for continuous, real-time exchange of product information among supply chain partners.

“Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op LLC, in managing the supply chain exclusively for Yum! Brands Inc., fully supports the foodservice GS1 US standards initiative and roadmap,” says Daniel E. Woodside, president and CEO of Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op. “We began our project in 2005 utilizing standardized barcodes on our product cases, anticipating benefits for all our business partners. As we now begin to realize some of those benefits, we are excited to share our learning with the industry and commit our full support.”

“We know our customers need more accurate information,” adds Larry G. Pulliam, executive vice president of foodservice operations at Sysco Corp. “In addition, our suppliers need it, our associates need it and the industry needs it, as well. Through the foodservice GS1 US standards initiative, involving leadership from all parts of the supply chain, we commit to adopting GS1 standards to improve food safety and traceability, take cost and complexity out of the supply chain and improve the experience for our customers.”

The foodservice GS1 US standards initiative welcomes the involvement of all foodservice manufacturers, distributors, operators, industry associations and technology providers.

Following is the complete list of founding members:

1. Avendra LLC
2. Ben E. Keith Foods
3. BiRite Foodservice Distributors
4. Bojangles' Restaurants Inc.
5. Campbell North America Foodservice
6. Cargill
7. Centralized Supply Chain Services LLC.
8. Coca-Cola FoodService and On-Premise
9. Compass Group/Foodbuy
10. ConAgra Foods
11. Darden Restaurants Inc.
12. Dot Foods Inc.
13. Ecolab Inc.
14. Ellenbee Leggett Co. Inc.
15. Food Services of America
16. General Mills Inc.
17. Genpak
18. Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP
19. Gordon Food Service
20. Hawkeye Foodservice Distribution Inc.
21. Heinz North America Foodservice
22. Hormel Foods
23. Independent Marketing Alliance
24. Indianhead Foodservice Distributor Inc.
25. J.R. Simplot Co.
26. Kellogg Company Specialty Channels
27. Kraft Foodservice
28. Land O’Lakes Inc.
29. Maines Paper & Food Service Inc.
30. MARS Foodservices US
31. Martin Brothers Distributing Co. Inc.
32. McCain Foods USA Inc.
33. McLane Foodservice Inc.
34. Nestlé Professional
35. Nicholas & Company Inc.
36. Novation LLC
37. Pate Dawson Co.
38. PepsiCo Foodservice
39. Performance Food Group Company LLC
40. Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.
41. Reinhart FoodService LLC
42. Rema Foods
43. Restaurant Services Inc.
44. Rich Products Corp.
45. Sara Lee Foodservice
46. Shamrock Foods Co.
47. Solo Cup Co.
48. Sodexo, Inc.
49. Sysco Corp.
50. Tyson Foods, Inc. Food Service
51. Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op LLC
52. Unilever Foodsolutions North America
53. UniPro Foodservice Inc.
54. U.S. Foodservice
55. Ventura Foods LLC