Analysis of fresh-food chains

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research conducts economic analyses of fresh food-chains in which quality deterioration is leading. This will enable the industry to make informed decisions when optimising production and distribution.

What is the advantage of investing in refrigerated transport for a retailer in a developing country? Is it economically viable to upscale banana production in a specific region? Should a particular item remain in the product range? All over the world manufacturers and retailers strive to combine efficient logistics with the best possible product quality at the lowest possible cost, without compromising food security. Large investment is often needed to optimise production and distribution. Often, however, it is unclear if, how and when they will get a return on their investment.

Economic analyses

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research conducts economic chain analyses to give manufacturers and retailers insight into the costs and benefits of innovations and improvements in their production and distribution chains. We work from a unique integral approach, focussing on both production and distribution. This approach delivers realistic scenarios and practical, scientifically-based advice.

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has extensive knowledge of logistics activities and activity-based costing: a specific way of calculating the cost of the various processes in a chain. For example, in the cheese chain we analyse activities both between and within each part of the chain, such as transport of the cheese from factory to retailer, and the cheese ripening. This enables us to determine the specific cost per discrete activity.

In addition, we assess the direct product profitability (DPP): the ‘on-shelf value’ of products. DPP gives retailers an idea of the contribution – such as return on investment – of an individual product to the success of a product range.

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research keeps abreast of trends and market developments. We can estimate whether there is sufficient market to support the  investment needed to upscale to full production.

Quality deterioration and waste

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research supports manufacturers and retailers by providing a unique system that simulates fresh-food chains. The system identifies precisely where in the supply-chain the quality deterioration and losses occur. It also provides a quantitative insight into the impact of possible improvements. This information allows manufacturers and retailers to take well-considered measures to reduce quality deterioration and waste.

The point of departure for the analyses is the software package Enterprise Dynamics; this is complemented by advanced models for process simulation with regard to quality, logistics and purchasing. These models have been developed by Wageningen Food & Biobased Research experts and are based, partly, on in-house storage experiments). Together the models form the Agro Logistics Analysis and Design Instrument (ALADIN).