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The food chain's supply chain

The food chain's supply chain

As a consultant to retail food & beverage giants such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, Peter Crosby has an insider’s perspective on the food chain. Crosby, principal of CGR Management Consultants (, sees the industry as two basic segments.

On one side is the $400 billion retail market, including supermarkets and packaged liquor stores, where end customers buy food to take home for preparation there. This segment comprises between 55% and 60% of the total food dollar.

The other side is the $350 billion food service market, where food is consumed on the premises, including restaurants, bars, fast food chains, in-plant and institutions like prisons and schools.

According to projections, the food service segment will continue to grow. Competition will remain fierce and logistics will play a significant part in the future success or failure of restaurants and chains.

Opportunity exists for huge savings across the retail market. One recent Efficient Consumer Response study pegs potential savings of $30-$40 billion by squeezing out waste from the supply chain.

As shippers seek to smooth problems associated with moving food & beverage products, they’ll increasingly turn to supply chain software packages that can be adapted to the specific needs of their industry, Crosby predicts.

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October, 2003

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