From Food + Tech Connect:
In fact, 86% of shoppers say the presence of local food – food they believe is healthier, safer and more easily traceable – is important to them when choosing where to shop. The global food safety testing market is also expected to grow into a $2.5 billion industry by in 2015.
In large part, the demand for traceability will be realized through technology. Initially led by industry leaders like IBM and Microsoft, the move to track more complex data and to make it accessible to consumers via the web and smart phones is now being pioneered by private companies and university groups alike.
Food+Tech Connect reflects on the tech advancements of the last year and will continue following this trend over the course of 2012.
Integrated vs Fragmented Chains
IBM announced several technology innovations now in use to track food as it travels through the food supply chain. In partnership with Cherry Central, the company now makes it easier to collect data as fruit travels from processing plant to store and restaurant. This data now contains more food quality and compliance information than was previously available. IBM also recently won a contract to work with Shandong Commercial in China to implement a food monitoring system for use in the pork industry.
But these systems are vertically integrated, while much of the food system is not.
The Whole Chain Traceability Consortium (WCTC) is working to allow “consumers to point a smart phone at a food product bar code, and retrieve a global sourcing map and reliable information about all the steps a product took from the farm to the store,” said Steve Holcombe of Pardalis, Inc. In an interview with Food+Tech Connect, Holcombe and Professors Dr. Brian Adam and Dr. Michael Buser of Oklahoma State, explained that much of the problem lies in fragmented food supply chains where many different companies are buying and selling the product…
[continues at Food + Tech Connect]