Global reach has food companies eyeing private standards

Private standards are poised to occur at an increasing rate in the next few years among restaurants and quick service establishments.

Private standards are poised to occur at an increasing rate in the next few years as restaurants and quick service establishments look to better define their thinking and public positions in the areas of animal welfare, food safety and sustainability, Paul Clayton of the U.S. Meat Export Federation said on opening day of the 2014 Joint Annual Meeting of the American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Assn. in Kansas City, Mo.

Clayton said that while concerning to some, the adoption of private standards is understandable. The situation that these companies face is that they are global businesses and since no global standards exist to which they can turn in order to establish uniformity, they have no real option but to write their own.

Using McDonald’s Corp. as the example, Clayton said, the chain now has more non-U.S. units than those based in the U.S. In fact, the company has 18,720 non-U.S. based units versus 13,980 U.S.-based units.

YUM brands with KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and WingStreet restaurants, is in a similar situation. Even Subway, which has now surpassed McDonald’s as the unit leader in the market segment, has a rapidly growing international presence.

Private standards will help these companies to level their playbook on a global basis and remove the confusion that often results from having to meet varying standards around the world, noted Clayton.

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