June 28, 2023

Mid-Week Business Insights 06/28/2023

Global food shortages, particularly in beef and poultry, have led to price increases. Walmart's meat and poultry processes need improvement for better quality. How technology can help? hunterAI is developing a framework for nutritious food with substitutions to benefit patients.

An enhanced seafood policy is a new effort by Walmart to boost its seafood sustainability practices as other food retailers do the same.
Courtesy of Walmart

Getting ahead of drug shortages: University of Virginia Health streamlined, predictive solution 

UVA Health selected OrbitalRX with Micromedex, an innovative drug shortage management platform for hospital pharmacies. This data-unifying solution proactively manages drug shortages through predictive analysis and real-time situational awareness in a pharmacy-focused workflow. OrbitalRX is primarily used internally by UVA Health’s medication utilization strategy team for shortage management, says Spoelhof. At any point in time an organization typically tracks a few hundred shortages. There are some that need not be looked into every day, but that’s not the case for critical drugs drugs. We were able to add tags for those ones of utmost importance Now the status is easily seen for all the critical products that are due to come in shortages. The tags help shape the mindset and better ensure identification, when facing a potential issue in this area. 

Getting ahead of drug supply challenges (asccommunications.com) 

Depleted cattle herds push beef prices to near record levels 

Depleted cattle herds have pushed up beef prices, eating into meatpacker profits as they struggle to fully pass along the costs to inflation-wary consumers. Prices for fed cattle, or cows that are large enough to be slaughtered and put in the market, reached a record for the week ending June 4, according to a USDA report Thursday. Meanwhile, prices for younger, feeder cattle at the Oklahoma City National Stockyards were up nearly $52 in May compared to a year ago. Cattle stocks have remained low due to persistent drought conditions across the U.S., pushing up consumer prices close to the record set during the pandemic, per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Depleted cattle herds push beef prices to near record levels | Supply Chain Dive Pork prices weaken on excess supply, fuelling concerns amid Prop 12 uncertainty Market uncertainty, policy issues and operational challenges are placing pressure on the industry as inflation-wary consumers continue to keep a close eye on their spending. Historically, wholesale beef and pork prices tend to coincide with each other, Earnest said, but cutout prices have diverged in recent weeks. USDA data shows the cut out value spread was $213 per cwt in the last week of May, compared to $153 per cwt the same week last year. Earnest said strong slaughter rates at the start of the year led to larger than expected pork supply, pulling prices down further in an industry affected by historically weak demand. Meanwhile, wholesale beef prices are elevated on tight cattle supplies and strong demand. 

Pork prices weaken on excess supply, fueling concerns amid Prop 12 uncertainty | Supply Chain Dive 

Walmart beefs up end-to-end Angus supply chain with new production facility 

Walmart opened its first facility to support its beef supply chain in early 2020. The 201,000-square-foot facility in Thomasville, Georgia, is operated by beef production company FLP Foods and produces Angus cuts that are then distributed to Walmart stores in southeastern states including Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Walmart is one of several grocers and retailers who are using in-house production to gain more control over their private label offerings. Costco, similarly, has in-house poultry production. Vertical integration tends to further accentuate attractive attributes of private brands to retailers: higher margins, differentiation for customers and the ability to diversify their product supply and not rely so much on outside suppliers. 

Walmart’s enhanced seafood policy sets new standards for tuna suppliers 

The retail giant noted it prioritized two issues: observer monitoring and zero high seas transshipment without observer monitoring. Observer monitoring surveys commercial fishing activities and reports key information on numerous data points, including bycatch, according to the announcement. Observer programs, which can be managed by individuals or with electronic monitoring devices such as artificial intelligence, ensure “cost-effective transparency in supply chains that will ultimately lead to better outcomes for the ocean and for people” Meanwhile, transshipment — moving fish from one fishing vessel to another while at sea or in port — that happens at sea can prevent accurate data collection about seafood products, leading to illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing activities, according to information from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation cited in the announcement. Walmart’s updated seafood policy aims to address this by ensuring in-port transshipment and high seas transshipment are covered by 100% observer monitoring to increase transparency and promote best practices on tuna fishing vessels.  

Walmart’s enhanced seafood policy sets new standards for tuna suppliers | Supply Chain Dive

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