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Transparency will shape the food agenda

13 May 2018

Growing consumer demand for new levels of transparency look set to disrupt the food industry in the wake of continued food scares, according to a Cranswick report, published in association with sustainability consultants Veris Strategies. 

Key report findings were:

• Demand for provenance grows and transparency needs to be strengthened – the food industry needs to demonstrate greater accountability across the entire supply chain from farm to fork.
• Shoppers want real time information on traceability issues from the convenience of their smartphone and through social media.
• Companies need to embrace the data revolution and use secure technology such as Blockchain.

UK food regulators recently launched a nationwide review of the meat industry following a series of high profile food safety breaches at processing factories. The report, ‘Radical Transparency: The rise of disruptive consumerism,’ highlights the risks that food companies face if they don’t take urgent action to address this.

Drawing on research conducted with consumers and industry experts, the report argues that as demand for food provenance grows, the food industry must be able to demonstrate greater accountability across the entire farm to fork supply chain, not just to future-proof business but to give added assurances on hygiene, safety, ethics and sustainability standards as transparency becomes an ever-increasing critical issue.

The report predicts that shoppers will soon want to access real-time information on traceability issues from their smart devices as part of this ‘open kitchen’ approach. 

Greater transparency requires industry to adopt new technologies such as Blockchain, which can harvest tamper-proof data on the origin and authenticity of food products. On-pack certification labels and logos offer an innovative way to communicate this information to consumers in a matter of seconds. 

Data will continue to play a pivotal role in communication, as consumers demand companies move away from storytelling efforts towards verified accounts as their solid source of transparent information.

Commenting on the report and its findings, Adam Couch CEO at Cranswick said that being able to prove the origin of where meat comes from is fast becoming a business-critical issue. “We already invest heavily in integrated supply chains to offer full traceability from farm to fork and insist on high standards pertaining to ethics and animal welfare. As a company we will continue to build on these commitments, but if we are to help futureproof the entire industry, we will have to work with others. To do this, we need to engage and raise awareness of the issue, which is why we have teamed up with Veris Strategies to produce this report.”

Jim Brisby, commercial director at Cranswick believes that food manufacturers need to do a lot more to meet the demands of the modern consumer. He said: “Sustainability, provenance and health are now key issues for shoppers. The whole food supply chain needs to be more visible so people can reconnect with where their food comes from. We fully intend to be at the forefront of driving this agenda forward. This report has informed our future direction on transparency and provenance, and will continue to shape our own sustainability policy, Second Nature. I hope others will follow our lead and join us on this journey.”

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