Kuehne + Nagel and DHL Tradeteam are working with Costa owner and customer Whitbread on an initiative to standardise product information, removing cost and complexity from the supply chain.

The project is running in parallel with the Premier Inn-owner’s involvement with the Food Service Directors' Group (FSDG’s), which also includes Brakes, Mitchells & Butlers, Unilever and Compass in membership.

At a launch event last week for FSDG’s report, The Food Service Information Challenge, the authors claimed standardising product labelling could save £20m across the supply chain during the next five years.

Although the greatest burden of work falls on suppliers and the hospitality providers, Whitbread’s logistics director Brodie McMillan confirmed the operators involvement to MT, and added “there will undoubtedly be cost savings for 3PLs”.

While the £42bn UK food service continues to grow, around 60% of the products entering the supply chain do not have standardised international identifiers.

This “unsustainable” situation leads to food wastage and a great deal of manual handling and checking, as well as a legal threat with food labelling legislation set to be introduced in 2014.

FSDG is part of not-for-profit supply chain standards group GS1.