If you’re in the food business (whether that’s retail, food service, processing, farming, or supply), consumers are asking questions about your supply chain.
Of course, they may not be asking you directly, and they may not be asking your retail or food service partner, but they are asking: on social media, on recommendation sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, even over drinks at their local.
Are you providing the information they need to be confident about the quality and safety of your product? Do you have a substantiated story around provenance, animal welfare and the environment?
Safeguards such as DNA testing lasagna are “bottom of the cliff” activities, an attempt to rebuild broken trust and arguably too limited and late in the supply chain.
Future product preference and even acceptance relies upon a supply chain that can show ethical practices: in how environmental impacts are managed, natural biodiversity is encouraged, animal welfare is maintained, anti-microbial resistance is avoided, and workers and communities are treated.
Activist groups and the power of social media means that our response to these demands must be much more solid than a promise or a declaration form. We must have the systems and measures to back up our words – and to demonstrate as much to auditors and our supply-chain partners.
For those of us at the confluence of technology and agriculture, this means we must do more than just record activities and calculate gross margins. We must step up with tools that capture rich data in support of farming activities, and which actively encourage good decisions that improve both profitability and sustainability.
All this needs to be done with minimal additional effort by farmers and their staff, and aligned to real-world processes on farm.
I’ll be speaking at MobileTech 2017, the annual summit for technology innovations in the primary sector, reflecting on these challenges. I’ll summarise some of the work Rezare Systems is doing in this space, and suggest ways the industry could apply technology to the opportunity.
This article was first published at http://www.rezare.co.nz/blog