Exploring Food Supply Chains with Will Madden of Right Brain Consulting

What are the current and future trends in food supply chains? We went to the experts at Right Brain Consulting to find out.

About Right Brain Consulting:   

Right Brain Consulting, comprised of food industry experts, specializes in negotiating contracts between food companies and co-manufacturers.

Looking for depth and breath of industry knowledge? An extensive network of resources? Trustworthy contract negotiation? Reliable execution of supply chain management and quality controls?

Right Brain Consulting has helped everything from start ups to multimillion-dollar businesses find perfect-match contract manufacturers, setting them up for long term success.

What are some current hot-topics in the food supply chain and co-packaging industry?

We’re seeing an increase in demand for contract negotiation, supply chain management and quality control and regulation of nutraceuticals (i.e., pharmacological foods, supplements).

Compliance with regulations (labeling, transparency in production process and sourcing of ingredients) are also hot topics.

Paint us a picture of the future of food supply chain management, what are some issues on the horizon?

As consumers become more aware of the importance of knowing what is in their food and what processes are used in producing food, manufacturers and food companies need to be more careful regarding sourcing of ingredients, process management and the documentation of every piece of the process.

This is important not only in the case of recalls (i.e., contamination or problems with quality) but also in regards to proper labeling and consumer education about ingredients. Increased globalization of ingredient sourcing means more monitoring is required in order to protect purity and process.

On the flip side, companies may be able to procure higher quality ingredients at lower costs, if proper sourcing exploration is conducted.

Food travels thousands of miles on average in the supply chain. Graphic Courtesy of Good Magazine

What are some of the most common sticking points in co-packing contracts?

Contracts should include both fixed costs and transparency, but co-packers often want to rope companies into a fixed margin contract.The difference between these two types of contracts can make the difference between your new food product soaring or tanking.

Read the blog post here, titled “One of the Worst Contracts I’ve Ever Seen”, to understand the nuances of these two types of contracts.

How has the food manufacturing and packaging industry evolved over time? Are new technologies generally quickly adapted in this industry?

Food manufacturing and packaging has evolved to become more efficient, using less manpower and more technology to reduce labor costs. Technologies are usually adapted quickly when appropriate financial incentives are provided.

For example, if a new company approaches a struggling co-manufacturer with a large contract that could revitalize the co-man’s business, the natural and logical response is for the co-man to invest in the newer technology required to accommodate the large contract.

However, if the proposed contract is not lucrative enough (and the investment in the new technology is not going to pay for itself and then some), the incentive to upgrade technology is nonexistent.

How will the USDA mandate to cut food waste by 50% by 2030 affect the food supply chain? Considering the quantity of food waste that occurs in the supply chain, has the organic food movement changed your business?

I think we’re going to see manufacturers looking for ways to improve the production process and make more efficient use of rework (scraps, extra product).

A good producer can normally manage their reclaim process down to about 4% where historically it was close to 8 or 10%.

As more batch processes lines are upgraded and turned into continuous systems you will continue to see serious  strides in waste reduction.

The co-packing industry is one that adapts quickly to new technologies, provided there is proper incentive

What kind of clients receive the most value from services? How can readers reach out to you for more information?

Right Brain Consulting has developed an extensive network of co-manufacturers, co-packers, legal support, acceleration program contacts and funding sources.

Both new and established food product companies value our contract negotiation, supply chain management and quality control services.

Give us a call at 775-623-7666 or contact us through our online contact form for a free assessment. Learn more about us at

Thanks Will!

About the Author

HazelBlog Staff

Hazel Technologies 

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