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Consumers Don't Believe You, And How You Can Improve Your Food Supply Chain Transparency

Supply Chain Regulation

Government regulators and consumers are continuing to pressure food businesses to provide improved supply chains traceability data and documentation.

If you asked a food consumer twenty years ago if they knew the source of their food, the answer was probably “no”. Food supply chain transparency just wasn’t a huge priority for consumers or companies. After several instances of contaminated foods and reports of adulteration, consumers are now demanding food transparency across the supply chain.

Current food labels, especially those labeled with ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ icons, usually don’t provide insights into where the product was sourced and how it was manufactured. While achieving notable certifications takes time and additional audits, many consumers are demanding more, with a strong emphasis on the source of the food ingredients in the supply chain.

Historically, food brands have been concerned that disclosing too much information could jeopardize their competitive edge or expose them to unnecessary public scrutiny. But, in reality, we’ve learned that transparency builds trust. In fact, according to a survey from Label Insight Food Revolution, 94% of respondents stated that it’s important to know what’s in their food and how it’s made.

But what transparency looks like will vary depending on the food item, whether it’s locally grown produce or imported ashwagandha. In either case, capturing the necessary data (GTIN,Lot #, ASN, etc.) and documents (organic certifications, certificate of analysis, carbon credits, etc.) will help illustrate product provenance with buyers and quickly solve mysteries when there is an issue. Because, there will be an issue.

Other key determinations on the level of food transparency you want to integrate could include:

  • What stage of the supply chain you are responsible for

  • Regulatory requirements (FSVP, state, federal, other country requirements,etc.)

  • Certification standards

  • Complexity of the product

In addition to the above mentioned bullets, the most important factor on your food company’s level of transparency is your culture. Organizations that embrace excellence, quality and are willing to put that out for their buyers and consumers, inherently have to develop systems and processes to execute on this vision. So, what is the impact? Product differentiation and brand loyalty.

Once you establish the intent of your transparency (do you need to check a regulatory box? Or are you trying to disrupt an industry with seed to sale traceability?) - then you can determine the best Traceability Management System that supports your objective.

To talk to our team of traceability experts and determine what system makes sense for you, contact us here.