The food industry plays a significant role in satisfying people's needs with reverence to
availability, delivery, and quality. In order to meet these needs, the producers, as well as the
consumers, must adjust products and services to suit their needs. This article reviews past studies
on the food industry. The production process in food industry varies according to the structure of
the products, in which a small number of raw materials can be utilized to produce a selection of
end products having factored in the customers' demand. Literature studies have shown that the
studies on production systems in food industry evaluate the production and scheduling scope,
mass customization, make to stock and make to order strategies, as well as the concept of
postponement which is applicable in this industry. Therefore, the major four key issues in food
Production system and processes
Product quality and perishability
Agricultural products are the prime source of raw materials used in the food industry.
Through agroindustry agricultural products are added value through manufacturing processes.
Agroindustry has distinctive raw materials characterized by seasonality, perishability, and
variability (Austin). Most agricultural products are seasonal and highly affected by the climate
change, hence production continuity of agricultural produce has no certainty leading to an
imbalance in supply and demand, giving rise to issues related to supply, production scheduling,
supply chain, and marketing. Since agricultural products are generally bulky and perishable,
packaging and transport technology is a necessity to resolve this issue. Speed and accuracy in
storage and handling are essential to ensure food quality. Additionally, agricultural produce
varies in both quality and quantity because of factors such as weather change, damage, and even
livestock diseases. Variation in quality is as a result of the difficulty in agricultural products
standardization, and this poses more challenges to production scheduling and quality control.
Production system and processes
Generally, there are two methods involved in food production, processing and mixing
(Akkerman, et al). The processing stage involves intermediate product processing to produce
semi-finished or intermediate products. The latter stage involves blending the intermediate
products to formulate an end product. For instance, flour production involves processing
varieties of flour milled from different grains to produce flour suitable for food processing
industries (Akkerman, et al.). The end, however, may consist of one or a number of semi-final
The shift from mass production manufacturing strategy to mass customization strategy has
been backed by increased consumers’ needs and wants, which cause the demand of products
variety to rise. Silveira et al. stated that mass customization is related to a firm’s ability to
deliver a product or service in a flexible manner. Mass customization puts emphasis on product
and service design on an individual basis to meet the needs and wants of every consumer through
flexibility and integration (Frutos and Borenstein). This implies that the mass customization
process can as well call for adjustments in the production system. With the advancement in
technology, production of a variety of products has been enabled, for example, the variety of
flour products structured on customers' needs has been made possible. In the current market,
varieties of flour products are available in the market, which includes wheat protein content in
flour as well as the type and weight in terms of packaging altered to the needs of the end users.
Thus, it can be said that mass customization values consumer satisfaction while keeping the costs
of production, product prices, as well as product quality. Accordingly, the application of this
strategy should not increase production cost which imposes the increase in the prices of products.
The major strategies related to mass customization are flexibility, postponement, and
Product Quality and Perishability
The quality of food products including safety has been a major concern in the food industry.
The quality of agricultural products changes continuously as they move along the supply chain,
and this may lead to significant social, economic, and environmental concerns. Food spoilage
cannot be avoided when agricultural products are being moved from farms to the factories for
processing, food retailers, and end users. Food perishability also leads to losses through wastes.
The United Nations estimates that nearly a third of all food produced for human consumption goes
to waste every year (He, Huang and Li). Nevertheless, the development of preservation
technologies has offered means through which wastes can be minimized and enhance food safety
along the supply chains.
Extensive literature studies have been carried out on the adoption of preservation and
traceability technology in the food industry. Mercier et al. provided a broad literature review on
time-temperature management along the food supply chain, and Badia-Melis et al. reviewed
traceability technology adoptions in food supply chains. The acceptance of traceability
technologies and the implementation of temperature control has heightened information gathering,
which is used to make decisions regarding inventory, distribution, and retail strategy while
upholding safety in food supply chains.
Akkerman, et al. "Influence of capacity and time constrained intermediate storage in two stage
food production systems." International Journal of Production 45.13 (2007).
Austin, J.E “Agro-industrial project analysis; EDI Series in Economic Development” World
Bank, Washington D.C (1981).
Frutos, J. D. & Borenstein, D. “A framework to support customer-company interaction in mass
customization environments.” Computers in Industry (2004).
He, Yong, et al. "Quality and Operations Management in Food Supply Chains: A Literature
Review." Journal of Food Quality (2018).
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