Consumers Will Drive Demand for Traceability
By iFoodDS Team
January 22, 2021
Since the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint in July 2020, companies throughout the food supply chain have been focused on what future changes may mean to them. The Food Traceability Proposed Rule, announced in September 2020, is a key component of the Blueprint and is getting a lot of attention. It’s easy to fixate on potential future regulations, and the impact to industry, while losing sight of the big picture.
The big picture is all about the consumer. The FDA’s “ultimate goal is to bend the curve of foodborne illness in this country by reducing the number of illnesses.” FDA acknowledges that it will take stakeholders across the industry to achieve this goal. Regulations alone won’t get us there.
The consumer plays a significant role, too. Consumer expectations and shopping behaviors will accelerate the pace of change and drive demand for instant traceability from farm to fork. A recent AgDaily article, The Growing Demand for Transparency in the Produce Aisle, speaks to the consumer perspective. It also discusses how technology can transform the relationship between growers and consumers, and features iFoodDS’s HarvestMark Traceability Solution. Here’s an excerpt:
In a different twist on innovative traceability technology, software company HarvestMark partnered with iFood Decision Sciences to create a solution that allows consumers to not only view each step along the supply chain, but to provide feedback and reward those brands they feel are doing the best job of transparency.
The product information is collected and shared with the consumer on an item-level basis. The consumer has instant feedback linked to the product’s age, origin, and location. This allows the grower to see how a specific product performs on the grocery store shelf and then make short and long-term production decisions.
In addition to the quality and analytical measurements provided to the grower, like temperature control, inventory monitoring, and supplier notifications, this traceability system also provides a mechanism for product recall in case there is a food safety incident.
The real power of the HarvestMark technology comes through the integration of both the consumer and analytical supply-chain feedback. A highly perishable raspberry variety, for example, might have great flavor and visual appeal according to consumer feedback. Through the analytics of the traceability software across the supply chain, the grower can maximize the shelf-life of the raspberries and reduce perishability at the store level. The result is increased income for both the grower and the retailer … and a happy customer who returns for repeat business.
Click here to read the entire AgDaily article.