Study: How can we improve traceability in the food chain?

By: Adriaan van der Giessen 25 Sep, 2018

Scandals relating to food quality, environmental issues and working conditions lead to a decline in consumer confidence and changes in consumer behaviour. Apart from the price, flavour and ease, other factors like safety, social impact and health play an increasingly important role in the decision-making process for consumers. Consumers ask more and more questions about the fruit and veggies that they grab from the shelves in supermarkets. To anticipate and respond to these changing customer demands, companies in the food chain must be proactive and make the processes more transparent for consumers. The key to achieving this transparency is to implement traceability systems, like a sector-specific, blockchain-based platform.

Lisa Lutticke, Master Student Supply Chain Management at Erasmus University, researched traceability in the food chain by order of Rotterdam Food Cluster.

A few barriers complicate transparency in the chain, including:

  • Numerous relationships between retailers and growers. Retailers often purchase fruit and vegetables from numerous growers, making it difficult to trace the origins.
  • No standard format for information-sharing or information-saving.
  • Consumers are influenced by one-sided media coverage.
  • Insufficient time and budget for a separate department that focuses on traceability. Right now, different people usually share the responsibility.

Possible solutions to promote transparency in the chain, are:

  • A digital platform on which all involved parties in the chain can share information with each other.
  • More standardisation in terms of identification. Many companies are already using GS1 identification.

Download the detailed summary of the study here.

Rotterdam Food Cluster encourages fruit and vegetable companies, specifically those in the Rotterdam Region, to make the sector more transparent and to join forces while doing so. Want to improve the traceability in your supply chain? Contact Adriaan van der Giessen.