According to a recent report by organic monitor, the UK has seen a growing number of food traceability certification schemes and analytical tools emerging in response to increased demand for transparency from consumers.
Food traceability was originally introduced in order to trace agricultural produce from developing countries – tracking items such as cocoa, coffee and tea. In the wake of recent industry failings such as the horsemeat scandal consumers have become more interested in where their food is coming from and these concerns about food content and safety have led to a greater demand for information, with new traceability schemes now being introduced for a broad range of foods, including sugar, soy and corn.
This growing expectation amongst consumers for food transparency presents fresh challenges for the food industry, according to Organic Monitor. Retailers and food producers and processors need to focus on specific ingredients and select appropriate traceability or sustainability schemes for each one.
In the US, consumer demand for clear labelling on genetically modified (GM) foods has grown dramatically and shoppers are more keen than ever to know what they are eating. The most popular of the new, voluntary traceability schemes in the US is called Non-GMO Project-Verified and covers more than 22,000 certified products. The effects of this type of certification are clear when you note that sales of certified products have gone from nothing to more than seven billion dollars worth in just five years,
Organic food sales in the US have also soared to $32 billion, comprising more than 4% of the total food sales. These sales are boosted by increasing consumer concern regarding the use of pesticides and GMO crops.
In addition to the need for organic and non-GMO foods, consumers are also influenced by whether or not their food has been ethically sourced – seeing a boom in the amount of schemes for things like fish traceability. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification was developed for ensuring that seafood is ethically sourced – and it’s not just fish processing that’s receiving attention – Sales of ingredients are also influenced by their point and method of origin. For example – bodies including Bonsucro for cane sugar, ProTerra for soy, and the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) have been set up to ensure that these goods are ethically sourced.
Here at Niche we are committed to helping our customers promote food traceability. Our modular systems are tailored to suit each client and ensure that they can confidently track every step that their food takes as it is harvested, packaged or processed. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business to increase sales and boost consumer confidence.