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The Food and Beverage Industry Glossary
The Food and Beverage Industry Glossary
Aug 31, 2022John McCurdy
Whether you’re new to the world of food and beverage or an industry veteran, you’re bound to come across a few terms with which you’re not familiar.
In part, that’s because the market covers a broad spectrum of segments and sub-industries, but the matter is further complicated by the fact that as the space evolves, new words and phrases emerge to describe the technologies and trends of the day, adding to the collective vocabulary.
But worry not—we’re here to fill you in on all the most commonly used food and beverage industry terms with this expanded glossary. While not completely comprehensive, it should offer insight on many of the popular terminology and a good reference point for your further explorations of related content.
Feel free to utilize the quick links in the left-hand navigation column to jump to the section of the glossary containing the term you’re looking for.
Allergen – Downtime
Allergen – an ingredient or material used in food and beverage production that can trigger adverse health effects for sensitive individuals. Frequently cited lists of the most common food and beverage allergens have been published by the FDA (U.S.) and FSA (UK).
Allergen management – the internal practice of food and beverage businesses that focuses on segregating ingredients and materials with allergen risks and taking steps to prevent contamination or errors in labeling.
Analytics – the computational study and investigation of data and statistics. A feature often offered by advanced ERP systems for the discovery of meaningful patterns and actionable insights. See also business intelligence.
Audit – an official inspection of a food and beverage production facility, normally conducted by the regulatory enforcement agency of the business’s operating region. Being prepared by maintaining full compliance and ensuring food safety is crucial. See also food safety.
Automatic reordering – a function of advanced food ERP systems that facilitates the immediate and automated re-purchasing of materials when stock falls below a designated threshold. See also replenishment.
Automation – the use of equipment and advanced technologies to minimize the need for human intervention in the execution of procedures. Can be applied to make many processes of food and beverage businesses more efficient.
Barcode – a method of representing data in a visual format that is readable by machines. Used for both lots of raw materials and finished goods in food and beverage warehouse barcode systems. See also license plating.
Batch – a group of food and beverage products, either in process or finished, that was prepared using the same ingredients during the same production run. See also lot.
Batch management – the practice of creating consistency from product to product and run to run via standardized, routine quality checks; precise recipe and formula procedures; and automated steps more easily and accurately handled by technology.
Batch processing – a method of program or process automation that identifies the completion of one procedure and automatically begins the next in a pre-planned sequence by utilizing available resources.
Bidirectional – having the quality of being able to freely explore and investigate both forward and backward in time or location. Frequently used in conjunction with traceability to describe an ideal material and product tracking setup.
BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global Standards) – a well-regarded set of standards that can be applied to improve quality, safety and transparency in the food and beverage industry. Originally created by the British Retail Consortium, now maintained by a related company and accepted in more than 130 countries.
Business intelligence – strategies and technologies used by businesses to analyze data and manage business information. Aptean Business Intelligence comes with built-in tracking for more than 300 key performance indicators (KPIs).
Catch weight – the exact weight of an individual food item, most relevant in sectors where products vary in weight on a case-by-case basis. Also referred to as variable weight.
Catch weight management – the practice of accounting for the difference in weight between various products of the same variety, most important in the meat, seafood and dairy segments. Dedicated tools for the purpose are offered by industry-specific food ERP software.
CIP (clean-in-place) – the practice of automating the cleaning of manufacturing equipment with major disassembly. Frequently applied for the interior surfaces of pipes, vessels, filters and other machine components.
Cloud – the technology of remote internet hosting of services and systems that makes them available on-demand and normally does not necessitate the use of additional hardware. A increasingly popular choice for the deployment of food and beverage ERP platforms thanks to its potential to boost results considerably.
Compliance – adhering to the operational and safety standards set by pertinent regulatory agencies. Vital for success in the food and beverage industry, as violations can result in penalties or even business closure, not to mention adverse consumer health outcomes. See also regulations.
Consignment – a sales model through which producers lend their goods to another business in order for the latter to conduct the marketing and sale. Most frequently utilized in the fresh produce sector.
Consignment tracking – the practice of managing and maintaining visibility of goods being offered for sale via consignment.
Consumer – an individual who buys and uses commercially available products.
Consumer preferences or consumer tastes – an evolving set of desires and inclinations shared by some portion of the larger consumer base. A topic of importance and much discussion in the food and beverage industry.
Consumer satisfaction – the extent to which customers are pleased with product quality and experience. Crucial for financial success and brand reputation in the food and beverage industry.
Continuous improvement (CI) – an ongoing effort to improve internal processes and enhance end products. A dedicated CI module is included in Aptean’s OEE solution for food and beverage manufacturers.
Contract manufacturing – the practice of outsourcing the manufacture of a food and beverage product to a third-party provider. A popular option for manufacturers who want to increase capacity in times of high demand without incurring the expenses of physical and workforce expansion.
Contract packaging – the practice of outsourcing the packaging of a food and beverage product to a third-party provider. Particularly useful for businesses that lack the physical space to conduct packaging activities in their own facilities.
Costing – the process of costing raw materials and ingredients for food and beverage production to ensure adequate margins. An area of operations in which technology-assisted analysis is particularly critical. See also profitability and trade management.
Critical Tracking Event (CTE) – five key steps in the supply chain, namely creating, growing, receiving, shipping and transforming. Originally introduced in the Institute of Food Technologies’ 2012 recommendations for improved product tracing, now part of the new Proposed Rule for Food Traceability. Also referred to more generally as critical tracking point (CTP). See also Proposed Rule for Food Traceability.
Crop rotation – the practice of using different plots of land for the cultivation of food and beverage materials so as to preserve the soil and long-term viability. See also regenerative agriculture.
Data – vital information and product details. A tremendous source of value for food and beverage companies.
Demand – consumers’ collective desire and intent to purchase food and beverage products.
Demand forecasting – the practice of using technology to forecast future demand and predict changes. A powerful feature of ERP systems for food and beverage businesses.
Demand planning – the practice of preparing for decreases or increases in demand by changing raw material purchasing procedures and/or production volumes. Another key function of food ERP solutions.
Digital transformation – the holistic process of business modernization through the utilization of purpose-built technology. An urgent imperative in the food and beverage marketplace.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) – a sales model by which manufacturers provide their products directly to consumers.
Downtime – A period during which production is halted or paused, either planned or unplanned. Food and beverage businesses try to minimize these occurrences so as to remain efficient.
EAM – Lot
EAM (enterprise asset management) – a strategy for maintaining and protecting manufacturing equipment, normally assisted by software and services.
EAM solution – A system dedicated to the practice of EAM that offers features that maximize asset performance, lower maintenance costs, improve operational efficiency, increase visibility of processes and reduce total cost of ownership. Aptean’s EAM for food and beverage manufacturers is an example of an advanced and comprehensive solution.
EDI (electronic data interchange) – the exchange of business information via a standardized format, conducted entirely electronically and of vital importance to food and beverage businesses that have a goal of working with mainstream retail outlets. Aptean EDI is a leading choice for companies that want to facilitate the process.
Enterprise – generally, a business organization. Most commonly used to describe companies of larger size and international scope.
ERP (enterprise resource planning) – the management of day-to-day business activities including accounting, procurement, compliance, supply chain management and more.
ERP solution – purpose-built software that aids greatly in the above efforts. Food and beverage businesses need an advanced system like Aptean Food & Beverage ERP if they want to be ready for the future and operate at a high level. A solution like ours provides a "single source of truth," allowing for more informed decision-making.
Expiration date – the date at which a food and beverage product is expected to spoil or otherwise become unsafe or unviable for human consumption. The same information is sometimes instead conveyed with a “best if used by” date or freshness range. See also shelf life.
Expiration date management – the practice of recording and tracking expiration dates for raw materials or finished products. Vital for food safety and shelf life management in the food and beverage industry, and a critical feature of intelligently designed ERP systems.
Farm-to-fork or farm-to-table – a term used to describe the entirety of a food and beverage product’s journey from agricultural cultivation to retail and consumption. Frequently used to describe the ideal degree of transparency offered by brands.
FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) – the federal agency of the United States responsible for protecting and promoting public health through control and supervision of food, beverage, supplement, drug, vaccine, medical device and tobacco products. Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
FEFO (First-expiry, first-out) – the practice of using the materials closest to their expiration date when picking ingredients for use in production. Helps prevent spoilage and maximizes utility of existing inventory.
FIFO (First-in, first-out) – the practice of using the materials that were received earliest when picking ingredients for use in production. Serves a similar purpose to the FEFO method.
Food fraud - fraudulent or dishonest activity in the trading of food and beverage products. Can include dilution, substitution, mislabeling, counterfeiting and unapproved enhancement. Also known as economically motivated adulteration (EMA).
Food safety – the practice of handling, preparing and storing food in ways that help prevent foodborne illness. Also referred to as food hygiene.
Formula – the list of ingredients and their quantities to be used to manufacture a food or beverage product. See also recipe.
Formula management – the practice of documenting, updating and accurately applying predetermined product formulas. Critical for consistent product quality.
FSA (Food Standards Agency) – the department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A separate organization Food Standards Scotland formed in 2015.
FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011) – a U.S. law that gives the FDA new authority to regulate the growth, harvest and processing of food and beverage products. Awarded the agency new powers, including mandatory recall authority.
FSSC 22000 (Foundation Food Safety System Certification 22000) – a globally accepted set of requirements for food safety, management and communication that also entails sector-specific Pre-Requisite Programs (PRPs), as well as additional standards for consistency and integrity.
Functional food – a food product that has a potentially positive effect on health beyond providing nutrition. Some include supplements or special ingredients that enhance these effects. Also referred to as nutraceutical, designer food, vitafood and pharmafood.
General Food Law Regulation – the foundation of food and feed law in the European Union (EU). Lays down general principles, requirements and procedures in matters of food and feed safety, covering all stages of production and distribution.
GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) – a private organization that brings together retailers and brands to create an extended food safety community to oversee standards for businesses and provide safe food for all. Many food safety certifications are benchmarked by GFSI to vet their validity.
Gluten-free – a product or diet that excludes gluten, a mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Beneficial for individuals with gluten-related disorders, including coeliac disease.
GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) – a set of standards and an accompanying certification created by the FDA to ensure product quality and codify proper procedures. Covers record-keeping, personnel qualifications, sanitation, equipment verification, complaint handling and more.
cGMP – Specifically, current Good Manufacturing Practice.
High-pressure processing – the process of preserving and sterilizing food through the application of very high pressure, which leads to the inactivation of dangerous microorganisms and enzymes that may be present. Also referred to as HPP and pascalization.
Hydroponics – a type of horticulture that involves growing plants, usually crops, without soil by using water-based mineral nutrient solutions. Root structures are either immersed directly in the aqueous solvent or supported by an inert medium like gravel, perlite or another substrate.
Implementation – the process of installing a business software solution. Also referred to as deployment.
Ingredients – a substance that forms part of a mixture. In the food and beverage industry, typically the materials used in a recipe. See also materials.
Integration – the process or state of systems or devices being so connected that information is shared and can be read and manipulated via any of the integrated platforms. Ideal for tech stacks comprised of many pieces of manufacturing equipment and a central software system.
Inventory – the raw materials or finished products currently in stock at a food and beverage business’s facilities.
Inventory management or inventory control – the practice of maintaining records and details pertaining to current inventory. Vital for the smooth operation of food and beverage businesses.
Keto – an adjective used to describe products formulated to have a minimum amount of carbohydrates and higher amounts of protein and fiber. From ketogenic diet, a regimen originally developed in the 1920s and now popular among those with certain weight loss and health goals.
Key Data Element (KDE) – the most important characteristics of a food product, including but not limited to origin, date of production, quantity and/or weight, shipping dates and traceability lot codes. Codified in the Proposed Rule for Traceability.
KPI (key performance indicator) – a metric that measures success in a given area or activity. Many are important to food and beverage businesses, and their tracking is an important practice.
Labeling – the practice of conveying critical product information in visual format, typically on packaging. Requirements vary by region, but disclosure of allergen concerns and nutritional information are typically among the most important elements.
Lab-made – the quality of being created through controlled scientific processes as opposed to traditional produce and animal cultivation methods. Most frequently seen in the dairy and protein sectors, where lab-based production methods offer a sustainable alternative.
License plating – the practice of applying a numbered plate to each container or unit of raw materials in inventory. Typically combined with a warehouse barcode scanning system to record critical product data and assist in inventory management.
Lot – a group of raw materials or batch of finished products that move together through the supply chain.
Lot management or lot control – the practice of recording critical information pertaining to lots within a business’s supply chain.
Lot tracking – the process of using a tracing system to follow the path of lots forward and backward along the supply chain.
Manufacturing – Route Optimization
Manufacturing – combining specific materials to create a more complex product. In the food and beverage industry, this typically entails the use of raw and/or processed ingredients to produce a finished good ready for consumer use. See also processing.
Materials – substances or mixtures of substances that constitute an object. In the food and beverage industry, typically used to refer to ingredients, but packaging also requires materials.
Material requirements planning (MRP) – the process of aligning ingredient procurement and production with demand. Critical for the profitability of food and beverage businesses, especially those that deal with seasonal fluctuations and frequent shifts in consumer tastes.
OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) – a measurement that allows manufacturers to compare their actual productive time against their available planned production time, calculated by multiplying the ratios of actual production time less 1) downtime and changeovers; 2) idle time, short stops and reduced production speed; and 3) scrapped units and rework.
OEE solution – software designed to capture the data necessary for OEE calculation, providing businesses with visibility into their efficiency and potential for improved performance. These systems help to consistently achieve plan attainment, reduce waste, minimize downtime and boost shop floor accountability.
Organic – the quality of being produced without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other artificial agents. A growing and in-demand segment of food and beverage products. Various certifications exist, including those of the USDA and EU (where organic products are sometimes referred to as ecological or biological).
Packaging – the container in which a food or beverage product is presented. Various forms include boxes, bags, cartons and palettes. Sometimes composed of an inner and outer layer. Frequently made of cardboard and/or plastic, though increasingly businesses are seeking more sustainable alternatives.
Paleo – describes foods that occur naturally and are entirely unprocessed. Excludes all products produced through manmade means, including dairy, grains and legumes. From Paleolithic. A segment and diet originally conceived of in Arnold DeVries’s 1952 book Primitive Man and His Food.
Payment platform or payment solution – a means of monetary exchange in order to conduct sales. Examples popular among consumers include Apple Pay, Amazon Payments, Venmo and PayPal. Businesses should seek out more integrated and optimized solutions like Aptean Pay.
Permaculture – an approach to land management and settlement design that recreates arrangements of flourishing natural ecosystems. Uses a set of principles from whole-system thinking. Applied in conjunction with regenerative agriculture for more sustainable cultivation.
Plant-based – a term used to describe products and diets that exclude animal products, including meat, seafood, eggs and dairy. Valued for sustainability and certain health benefits. Plant-based alternatives to traditional meat and dairy products are an expanding and popular product segment.
PLM (product lifecycle management) – the process of managing a product’s progression through the development, introduction, growth, maturity and decline phases of its “lifecycle.” A vital practice in the food and beverage industry, where new product development is necessary for innovation and brand relevance.
PLM solution – software designed to help businesses engage in new product development by creating a single central database for product, marketing and packaging information as it progresses through various iterations. Superior solutions like Aptean’s PLM for food and beverage companies improve accuracy, time-to-market, compliance and more.
PPE (personal protective equipment) – protective clothing, helmets, goggles or other attire designed to protect employees from injury and infection. Important for many roles in food and beverage production facilities.
Premiumization – an effort to distinguish a brand or product by emphasizing superior quality, exclusivity and customization. Popular in various food and beverage segments, including bakery, confectionery and beverages.
Processing – the act of turning raw materials into refined, specialized ingredients to be used by manufacturers. Considered the “first level” of manufacturing, with manufacturing being the “second level.” Food and beverage processors may sell their products directly to consumers and/or manufacturers.
Production – the creation of finished goods from components or raw materials. Sometimes used interchangeably with manufacturing.
Production management – the process of managing the activities of a business to produce desired outputs of products and services. In the food and beverage industry, this practice involves accounting for procurement and manufacturing to ensure plan attainment.
Production scheduling – the act of organizing and timing production in a factory setting so as to meet predetermined targets. A delicate and complex procedure in busy food and beverage manufacturing settings, made easier with ERP software.
Profitability – the degree to which a business or activity yields financial gain. A crucial goal of every food and beverage business.
Proposed Rule for Food Traceability – the FDA’s recently proposed Requirements for Additional Traceability Records for Certain Foods. An addition to the standards established by FSMA, its passage will create the Food Traceability List of 16 foods that pose elevated risk and codify Critical Tracking Events and Key Data Elements, among other provisions.
Purchasing – the process of procuring materials, most commonly raw ingredients in the food and beverage industry. See also replenishment and trade management.
Quality – the degree of excellence observed in a good, service or concept. In the food and beverage industry, the degree to which products align with predetermined standards.
Quality assurance or quality management – the practice of ensuring that finished goods adhere to standards of taste, appearance and freshness, among other characteristics. Vital for customer satisfaction and brand reputation in the food and beverage marketplace. Typically performed through various checks either automated or completed by individuals on the factory floor.
Real time – describes operations and processes in computing that guarantee very short response times. A highly desirable characteristic of databases for food and beverage manufacturers, as immediate updates to critical data allows for better decision-making.
Recall – a request or order issued by a manufacturer to return products that have been identified as dangerous or defective. An unfortunate and undesirable event in the food and beverage industry, as recalls are typically a response to potential food safety emergencies. Preparedness is key. See also withdrawal.
Recipe – the ingredient specifications and instructions for the creation of a food product or dish. Food and beverage businesses develop these with great precision for the commercially available goods they manufacture. Sometimes used interchangeably with formula.
Recipe management – the practice of recording and updating the recipes of all products in a food and beverage business’s lineup of offerings. Best accomplished through the use of a dedicated module or system within an ERP.
Regenerative agriculture – farming, ranching and grazing practices that are undertaken in harmony with nature so as to protect soil, water, the atmosphere and other elements of natural environments. Based on a set of principles that are designed to elevate traditional agriculture to a more sustainable form.
Regulations – laws and rules that govern certain industries and activities. With regards to the food and beverage industry, various regulations establish the standards to which businesses must adhere for traceability, sustainability, product safety, transparency, labeling and more.
Replenishment – the restocking of supplies for use in manufacturing. Most efficiently executed in the food and beverage industry via an ERP system that offers automatic reordering.
Request for proposal (RFP) – a formal document issued to product and/or service providers so that a potential client can evaluate the suitability and affordability of the offering. Sometimes used during the process of selecting an ERP system. Aptean offers a free template.
Route optimization – the process of structuring and scheduling driving routes to maximize efficiency and increase the probability that all deliveries will arrive on time. A vital practice for food and beverage distributors. Aptean Routing & Scheduling is a leading market solution.
Shelf Life – Yield
Shelf life – the length of time for which an item remains usable, fit for consumption or saleable.
Shelf life management – the practice of tracking ranges of viability for raw materials and finished products in a business’s inventory so as to minimize the amount of waste and make the most of assets. Critical for profitability, sustainability and customer satisfaction in the food and beverage marketplace.
Shop floor – the section of a workshop or factory where production and manufacturing is carried out.
Smart sensors – devices that monitor conditions and relay readings via Wi-Fi signal. Can be controlled remotely from the interface into which they are integrated. Of great utility in food and beverage manufacturing settings, as they allow for real-time reporting on important elements of the production environment, including temperature and humidity.
Spoilage – the deterioration over time of ingredients or products to the point that they are no longer fit for human consumption. To be avoided in the food and beverage industry, as it represents waste and financial loss. Typically mitigated through expiration date, inventory and shelf life management, as well as FEFO picking methodology. See also waste.
SQFI (Safe Quality Food Institute) – an independent organization that has established various trusted food safety and quality certifications. Well-regarded in the industry for its focus on developing fundamental best practices and disseminating critical information.
Supply chain – the network of organizations involved in the creation of a product. The pipeline by which food and beverage businesses receive the materials they need and distribute the products they manufacture. Growing increasingly sprawling and complex of late, becoming susceptible to disruption.
Supply chain management – the practice of maintaining visibility over the supply chain and tracking the movement of materials and products along it. A critical area of operations for food and beverage businesses, especially with the increasing prevalence of disruptions creating a need for greater resilience.
Sustainability – a growing demand of consumers, who expect the food and beverage businesses that they support to put considerable effort into lowering their environmental impact.
Traceability – the ability to track ingredients and finished goods along the supply chain. Absolutely crucial for food and beverage businesses, as total bidirectional traceability is necessary to ensure supply chain visibility and food safety. Also an area of increasing scrutiny for regulatory agencies.
Trade management – the process of managing all steps in a business exchange. Involves sequencing purchasing agreement, order allocation, execution and recording the transaction and its impact on inventory and finances. Vital for all businesses, including those in the food and beverage market.
Trade promotion – a marketing campaign or strategy deployed by businesses in tandem with the retailers that carry their goods. In the food and beverage industry, these frequently take the form of buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO or BOGOF) deals, bonus quantities or volumes, free samples and loyalty programs.
Transparency – the level of insight and visibility into supply chains and operations that businesses offer. Increasingly expected of food and beverage manufacturers, as consumers demand the ability to obtain additional information about the products they purchase and the brands they support.
Trends – emergent preferences among consumers for certain products or varieties of goods. A major force in the food and beverage market, as the preferences of shoppers have a major impact on sales and novel offerings can help businesses capitalize on periods of high demand.
USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) – the federal executive department of the United States responsible for developing and enforcing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development and food. Along with the FDA, a significant body determining the legislation that affects the food and beverage industry.
Vertical farming – the practice of cultivating large amounts of fresh produce in a small space by growing it in stacked layers. A more efficient, sustainable and compact method for production of fresh foods compared to traditional agriculture.
Warehouse – a large building for storing goods. Most food and beverage businesses have warehouses for their raw materials and finished products, where they are held before they either are consumed in manufacturing processes or distributed to retail and foodservice outlets.
Waste – materials that are unusable. In the food and beverage industry, this can be spoiled goods, defective products that must be scrapped or byproducts of manufacturing processes. To be minimized, as excessive waste represents a setback in your sustainability efforts and a loss of financial resources that can’t be recouped.
Withdrawal – the removal of products from retail and foodservice outlets due to defects. Similar to a recall, but normally undertaken for less urgent reasons or an unconfirmed/limited safety concern. Typically not mandatory, whereas recalls may be mandated under certain circumstances and jurisdictions.
WMS (warehouse management system) – software designed to provide visibility into inventory and allow for the management of warehouse operations, including receiving, picking for production and distribution. A powerful complement to an ERP solution for food and beverage businesses.
Yield – the amount of a product or substance produced. Used to describe both the quantities resulting from harvesting crops as well as the volume of goods produced through manufacturing processes. Food and beverage businesses seek to maximize yield while minimizing waste for maximum profitability.
If your food and beverage business is on the market for an ERP solution that will help you future-proof your operations and improve outcomes across many vital functions at once, we hope you'll consider Aptean Food & Beverage ERP as one of your best options. There are several reasons why we're considered a leader in this area.
First, there's the fact that our system entails unique, industry-specific technologies built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform. This affords the interface a user-friendly and intuitive feel, reducing the need for additional training and enabling your employees to quickly and effectively fulfill their responsibilities.
What's more, our solution was recently awarded Frost and Sullivan's prestigious 2022 Product Leadership Award in North American ERP Software for the Food and Beverage Industry. This demonstrates that we've developed a system that not only delivers on results and helps companies like yours excel, but also that Aptean as a provider is dedicated to the food and beverage space.
Finally, consider our decades of collective experience and in-depth understanding of modern best practices, which we leveraged in the creation of Aptean Food & Beverage ERP. During the implementation process, we strive to act as a partner to our clients, sharing our knowledge and offering advice every step of the way.
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