If catering and retail businesses as well as large-scale catering establishments want to order food with traceable product information about origin and quality, there is more than one hurdle to overcome. The partners of “RegioLog” (Regional B2B Logistics), a new cooperation project in the Food Cluster, therefore want to develop a logistics and data concept that enables simple ordering of verifiably regional and high-quality food via a common online platform. The project consortium consists of companies along the entire value chain of Upper Austrian organic products. Producers are represented, as well as logistics companies and retail and catering businesses.
The demand for food from the region and of high quality – increasingly also certified organic – is increasing. More and more restaurants and large-scale catering establishments want to meet this trend, but are unable to guarantee complete transparency in the origin of food. In some cases, there is a lack of norms and standards that would be necessary for tracing the origin and transport route.
The closer, the better
Logistics routes are currently not taken into account when awarding seals of approval, and these are awarded regardless of the CO₂ footprint.
“In the future, a product’s eco-balance will take on much greater significance and will be anchored as an important factor in the upcoming Supply Chain Act. In the future, domestic food will thus have a clear advantage over products that travel long distances,” Christian Teufel, who is in charge of the project at the Food Cluster, is convinced.
Hurdles in the ordering process
For large kitchens and catering businesses, it is challenging to get the desired regional products in the right quantity, at the right time and in assured quality. Ordering from many small businesses is costly and sometimes not possible at all if the demand is below the minimum order quantity. Furthermore, in the classic self-service wholesale, the listing of many small businesses and the checking of quality and availability cannot be implemented.
Practical logistics concept wanted
Since existing logistics concepts do not meet the requirements, the two manufacturing project partners Sonnberg and Pankrazhofer are currently using a mix of distribution channels.
“In addition to our own fleet of vehicles, we rely on freight forwarding and parcel shipping. To cover the costs, however, a minimum order value is necessary,” says Sonnberg Managing Director Manfred Huber.
Alternatively, delivery to wholesalers can be considered. The producer does not find out who receives the food and in which kitchen it is used. In recent years, a number of initiatives have also tried to increase the availability of food with online platforms. In most cases, however, they have failed to find practicable logistics solutions.
Prototype for digital platform
The “RegioLog” project aims to remove the aforementioned hurdles so that retailers, large-scale caterers, and small catering businesses can easily and conveniently order regional and, in some cases, organic foods via a platform. The products should be clearly recognizable as “sustainable” and “regional” and selectable in the filter criteria. For the logistics and data concept, the project partners are taking a close look at tools already in use, organic certifications and logistical requirements – such as transport containers, delivery frequency or warehousing – among other things.
“For the digital platform, we will first define the data standards, interfaces and required tools, and then gather experience with the help of an experimental prototype,” explains Karl-Heinz Kastner of RISC Software, the research partner in the project.
This project is funded by the Upper Austrian economic and research strategy #upperVISION2030.
- Project short title: RegioLog
- Project ong title: Regionale B2B-Logistik
- Funding call: Programm zur Stimulierung von Kooperationen zur Umsetzung von kooperativen Forschungs-, Entwicklungs- bzw. Organisationsvorhaben bei den Oö. Unternehmen (SKU)
- Project partners:
- Pankrazhofer GmbH, Tragwein
- SONNBERG Biofleisch GmbH, Unterweißenbach
- Grufeneder GmbH, Königswiesen
- GXUND GmbH, Wartberg ob der Aist
- Office No.1 Software Solutions GmbH, Altenberg
- Research partner: RISC Software GmbH, Hagenberg
- Budget (total): 566.000 EUR
- Duration: 12 months (01/2023-02/2024)
Mag. Stefanie Kritzinger-Griebler, Phd
Head of Unit Logistics Informatics