Food traceability systems

Food traceability systems need a common language

In a recent interview with Food Production Daily, industry expert Hilary Thesmar suggested that food traceability systems need a common language in order to evolve and be shared effectively amongst different stakeholders.

Thesmar, who is the  vice president of food safety programs at the Food Marketing Institute explained that whilst businesses need to record certain information about the food’s sources and processes in order to satisfy regulatory requirements, they should also consider consumers when making their choices about which pieces Food traceability systems and also of data to store and share. They need to understand what consumers want to see on labels when choosing a product and also understand the influence this might have on sales:

“As you’re shopping, what do you want from the food package – do you want to see traceability information? What might you already know? Do you have confidence in the product based on the package? Are there products where you’re left wanting a little more information?

“The consumer of today is more educated than in previous years. They have more information in their heads about food and nutrition, but they also want to learn more.”

In a recent study of consumer attitudes towards traceability information, when shoppers were asked to choose between an item which was clearly labelled with tracking data and one of similar quality which did not display any traceability information but was lower-priced – almost 60% of participants said that they would rather pay a higher price than not know where the product came from with Food traceability systems. Thesmar agrees:

“A lot of consumers are sceptical, they want a lot more information about the foods they’re purchasing and they want it to be transparent – either visible on the label or accessible via the label.”

Of course, food must be labelled and come with thorough traceability information in order to comply with industry regulations, and Thesmar suggests that for many businesses it’s the most stressful part of the business process:

“It’s  a panic because you have to go through mountains and mountains of paperwork, and you don’t know where to start.”

And making the transition from paper based records to electronic Food traceability systems is vital, as once the initial groundwork is done it will make the process much more efficient as well as saving businesses a lot of money. Thesmar asserts that  a common language is vital for this process. Suppliers need to have one computer system that can effectively capture and process all of the information about their products, so that they know exactly where it has come from and where it is going – and their customers can clearly see that information too – and buy with confidence.

“Traceability becomes an important tool in the face of an outbreak. Efficient product tracking can manage the loss of consumer confidence coming after a high-profile food borne pathogen outbreak.”

Research shows the in the case of an outbreak, approximately half of those who abandon using the product will not purchase it again in the 12 months following an incident. So it is important not only that businesses know where things are coming from, but you can also see why it is so important in the eyes of the consumer.

Here at Niche we understand the importance of both food traceability systems and food labelling systems. We know the type of information that consumers want to see and the type of data that is important to your business and our Nucleus system can be integrated to work right across your business from goods in to despatch. Please contact us to find out more how we can help you to reduce traceability  paperwork, streamline efficiency and save money.

Niche a Subsiduary of Bizerba (UK) Ltd

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