Why is Cold Chain Transparency with Fresh Produce Important?

In today’s world, the consumer is becoming more and more aware of the different allergens and origins of the fresh produce that is supplied to them. As a result, consumers are questioning more, and are more appreciative of a transparent supply chain as a result.

Environmentally conscious consumers are on the rise, and they want to know where everything is sourced. They are even willing to pay more for food that is sourced from more ethical and sustainable origins.

As a result, suppliers and farmers have had to become more and more transparent on their systems and processes, ensuring they are as high quality as possible. This is a good thing, as with awareness and education, we can all be better, together.

So why is transparency so important? The team at PostHarvest has put together 3 reasons why we believe it shouldn’t be avoided but embraced. This allows for a more efficient, ethical, and data-driven agricultural future.

1) Consumer demand for transparency
2) Ability to recall in case of risk
3) Increasing efficiency with data

 

1) Consumer demand for transparency

Consumer demand for transparency across the supply chain has risen substantially over the last decade. Studies show that not only do 99% of consumers want to see where their produce comes from, but up to 75% will actually switch brands if they don’t provide enough information on their supply chain and the origins and the environment in which the produce was harvested. This same study showed that only 36% of customers would have switched brands based on transparency in 2016.

This tells us that the importance of transparency and traceability is on the rise. The food traceability market is valued at $14 billion in 2019 and forecasted to hit $26 billion in 2025. Transparency is no longer an option, but a necessity for suppliers and supply chains to stay in business.

Many large brands have gotten on board with this, for example, Cargill. They have utilized blockchain technology to allow customers to track their turkey from the store in which they bought it all the way back to the farm it was raised in.

Farm-to-fork traceability is a trend that is both on the rise and here to stay. It allows consumers to feel secure with what they buy and eat and serve to their families. Companies are expected to follow the best ethical practices to reduce risk and improve efficiency.

2) Ability to recall in case of risk

 

Transparency and traceability across the food supply chain allow for risks to be identified and eliminated quicker. Once all risks are identified, companies can visualize and create a more effective supply chain. There are multiple steps and operations that need to be put in place for a truly traceable and transparent supply chain to exist. Companies must take a look at all potential risks, past disruptions, and any other supplier-related issues.

Should a product need to be recalled, a transparent supply chain will allow for the contaminated produce to be identified down to its source. This allows for risks to be eliminated as quickly as possible. This will help maintain brand reputation and integrity.

Having these operations in place will allow for decision-makers to act swiftly and quickly and ensure all produce is safe and abides by regulation, and if something should slip through the cracks it can be identified.

3)Utilising data to increase operational efficiency

Data is the most important part of a truly transparent supply chain. Not only does it allow for consumers to be able to see where their produce comes from, as well as where it is grown, businesses can also utilize this data to increase efficiency by being able to reduce their losses and increase their deliverables to the market.

Tracking specific data such as temperature, humidity levels, carbon dioxide as well as ethylene will allow for decision-makers and supply chain managers to identify overripe produce early and remove it from the batches within the supply chain before it begins to affect other fruit around it. This helps increase shelf life as well.

The window is sometimes incredibly short, and live data provided along with cloud-based notifications can help save millions of dollars of potential losses. With statistics of food wastage worldwide sitting at 45-50%, having data that helps notify and reduce these losses has become an imperative part of any supply chain operation.

Not only does it allow for identifying existing risks early on, but its data can also be used with blockchain technology and artificial intelligence, to allow for forecasting overproduce ripeness levels, allowing for decision-makers to be able to predict when produce will be ready to go to market.

The agricultural industry, though the largest in the world, is one of the last to be truly disrupted by technology. Farms and supply chains, from farm to fork, should embrace data and allow it to help run their operations.

A great example of a data-gathering device is the PostHarvest sensor. A unit that gathers data inside of cold storage units across the supply chain. Examples of data that is gathered include temperature, CO2 levels, and most importantly, ethylene.

This allows for cool storage operators to make decisions based on when the produce is ready to go to market. This can also save produce from overripening, should there be an ethylene spike.

Data can really help the supply chain save millions of dollars in losses as well as operate more efficiently.

Conclusion 

In the last decade, transparency and traceability have become two of the most important factors driving brand reputation and risk reduction. This is for food retailers and supply chains globally. Supply chains must not only embrace, but allow for their operations to be completely influenced by the data provided in order to become more efficient.

Consumers are wanting to be able to trace the origin of their produce, and this demand is only forecasted to increase. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below, and you can also learn more by visiting our free course centre.

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