Harvest Time is Measurement Time - The case for food traceability across the value chain

Over the last few years, public opinion has changed significantly about the importance of food information transparency. It seems that public trust in the food supply chains has decreased massively. What will the effects of this change be on the short-term future of food traceability? According to the International Food Information Council Foundation:

“Consumers want to know how their food is produced, where it comes from and the quality of the ingredients. They also have broader questions about environmental sustainability, and many seek brands that align with their broader social values.”– IFIC

Following the media, you would think that the number of outbreaks and food fraud has been growing during recent years. In reality, this is the result of two advancements: Thanks to technological advancements, cheaper and more accurate inspection results reveal more cases of contamination. Meanwhile, wide range online media access and eye-catching headlines result in growing consumer attention. Combined with massive social media sharing, these articles are spreading rapidly.

People are simply seeing more cases to be revealed, and due to emotional journalism, their dissatisfaction grows rapidly. Google search trends also show that whenever an outbreak is published or a food fraud is revealed, there is an enormous growth in related searches.

It seems like consumers are getting confused about food related information. In a survey, 80% of consumers said there is a lot of conflicting information about what foods to eat or avoid. It is expected that this trend will continue in 2019, as media outlets see that people respond actively to these topics and the number of potential cases are growing. This presents a demand for technology solutions which provide clear product information.

During 2018, various Blockchain solutions in the agricultural value chain came into play to try and address the current consumer dissatisfaction. While blockchain cannot solve all problems on its own, it is an important step forward. It is believed that food traceability is on the verge of a technological shift on each front:

Data collection
Internet of Things (IoT) technology becomes cheaper, more reliable and easier to use, replacing more tasks from weight measurement to temperature monitoring. This will lead to “trust less” data collection.

Data analysis
Artificial intelligence and big data technologies will enable food companies and authorities to analyse supply chain activities in depth to find anomalies.

Blockchain-based data processing automations and the immutable distributed ledger technology will complete the “trust less” supply chain idea, where no single company or person needs to be trusted to ensure that the data is genuine and correct.

Abbreviated from original article: https:// medium.com/te-food/ To read more about this topic: https://medium.com/te-food/foodtraceability-trends-to-watch-in2019-179a00b3b625