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What is Catch Weight?

By Bjorgvin Gudmundsson, June 26, 2019

Tags: iNECTA Seafood

Some parts of your business are easy to track and monitor as a food manufacturer or distributor. When a customer orders 32 cans of tuna fish, you'll know exactly how many ounces your customer receives since cans of tuna have a standard weight per can. 

However, things aren't easy if you're a distributor of fresh meats, seafood, and other products that may vary in weight. In our tuna example, each can is pre-measured and comes in a case of 32 cans. Products like this are effortless for food manufacturers to track and manage inventory and calculate margins.

This is where catch weight comes in – and it's one of the most influential factors on your total end-product costs. 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about catch weight and why you need to be familiar with it as a food manufacturer.

What is catch weight? 

Catch weight, as it pertains to the food industry, is a measurement of the actual weight of a product when it is sent to a potential buyer. In most cases, catch weight is used for products that are considered high-value but should be applied to any sort of product that requires standardization for price tracking and quality control. Also known as "variable weight," this measurement method is key to your business's success, as certain products vary in size and weight.

This variation could yield a varied value in which the product can be sold.

How does catch weight work? 

As it relates to the food industry, catch weight is an essential component of managing a food distribution business. Using catch weight incorrectly or not at all may lead to substantial losses for you, your buyers, or both since you're sending packages of food products with incorrect units of measure.

Secondly, catch weight is crucial for customer satisfaction. Your buyers are the lifeblood of your business, and doing anything seen as malicious could ruin your relationship. That's why having a reliable ERP system like Inecta helps you run your business more efficiently so you don't have to worry about losing your customer relationships.

Practical examples of catch weight in food industry applications

Seafood is often measured via catch weight and is frequently referenced when catch weight is discussed. Catch weight is most aptly utilized by manufacturers that sell products by the pound or ounce instead of setting a blanket price for every parcel or package. This is done to balance the maximum value of the product and its overall worth.

This measurement system is seen in your everyday supermarkets as well. For example, when you buy beef or poultry, the packaging will often look the same, however the price tags vary even though you are dealing with the same exact product. This is due to the catch weight measured to track and price the product as it appears for the consumer.

In the manufacturing world, each package of a given product gets weighed and labeled with its weight already calculated. This is to show the manufacturer and the consumer that the price they are about to pay is determined by the weight of the product itself. In a way, this eliminates the ambiguity around any price point you see in your market trips.

In essence, the catch weight process ensures a fair estimate for a single product at the point of sale.

Business ethics in the food industry: Considering catch weight 

Another factor to consider when evaluating the use of catch weight is a product's tendency to depreciate and even literally shrink over time during its stint in storage before it is shipped to the market or grocer. Let's say an order of Mozzarella cheese is sold and shipped at 100 pounds for $2,000. If the product arrives at 95 pounds, you might consider this phenomenon as an appropriate example of the necessity for calculating catch weight.It accounts for that usually small margin of value depreciation in order to offer a fair price to the customer.

Without catch weight, sellers previously had to undercharge for their product in order to anticipate a possible depreciation, resulting in less value than the original estimate. Catch weight measurement eliminates the need to undercharge for a product and gets the most value out of that product.

Whether it be fish, meat, poultry or cheese, products have a tendency to wilt or shrink, hence the deviation from the original measurement. No customer one wants to pay for a product and be shorted, no provider wants to undercharge for their precious product. This is why catch weight is so essential.

The challenges of catch weight 

While catch weight may sound simple and necessary, it's important to consider the  challenges it poses for food distributors that use manual methods of calculating the weight of variable items – such as meats and seafood. 

A manual catch weight process introduces the possibility of human error since workers must stop the line to record the weight of each package that comes off the line. They use a pen and paper and force you to use time and money to track each package's weight manually.

This is why automation is considered in many manual applications of tracking catch weight. Inecta offers solutions to promote transparency, fair pricing, and accurate weight measurement and recording services for your food and beverage manufacturing business. 

Another issue is the lack of consistency around tracking catch weight. Often, manufacturers may only be inclined to track a product in catch weight if the product is considered high-value. This is due to the fact that tracking a product via catch weight is a costly endeavor, so the product's value must exceed the cost of catch weighting in order to yield any profit.

Investing in an end-to-end management solution can help you to save costs while getting the full spectrum of benefits and measurement assurance that you would with manual systems while minimizing the margin for error. Additionally, a comprehensive ERP solution would also provide real-time sales tracking and inventory control for operators and their employees.

How to record catch weight 

Inecta's system eliminates the possibility of human error and allows for efficient inventory tracking and sales monitoring. You'll find that your product waste is minimized, and the weight data is captured and stored securely in the cloud-based system.

Visit our website to learn more about why Inecta is the number one choice of food and beverage ERP systems – and how you can get started with a free demo today.

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