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A perfect storm of food supply chain risk is brewing, and many businesses could be putting themselves at risk. The tragic events in Ukraine are causing ripples that are travelling further than anyone could have foreseen – impacting supply chains globally.  

The legacy effect of the pandemic and Great Resignation continues to create staffing issues and a significant drain of institutional knowledge. Mixed with the challenges of Brexit, unprecedented inflation, and weather shocks and we are entering an era of heightened food risk resonating throughout the supply chain as shortages become commonplace, and ingredient swaps are inevitable. 

There are two kinds of ingredient swaps: intentional swaps or reformulation, and food fraud, where a supplier deliberately deceits. If we are to focus on deliberate ingredient swaps, this is a common occurrence in the food industry; as materials change in price or availability, food products are under regular reformulation.  

When this happens, new suppliers will need to be vetted and onboarded to maintain quality and safety compliance. Formulation changes may require packaging, product claims and allergen warning adjustments.  

Complexity concerns 

If a change in ingredient is more complex than a like-for-like swap, then ensuring consistent performance through processing is also critical. Successful reformulation relies on companies maintaining their due diligence of the supply base, particularly when changes occur due to supply issues rather than planned product development projects.