Using Technology to Inspire Trust in the Food Supply Chain

We’re living in a world where it’s easier to get access to more information than ever before. Of course, not all companies and industries freely share that information with their consumers. But customers are increasingly demanding transparency and honesty — especially in the food retail world. 

According to a 2018 Food Marketing Institute report, 75% of grocery shoppers would switch brands if the new brand provided more in-depth product information. In 2016, that number was only 39%. 

Transparency is no longer just a luxury nice-to-have: it’s something customers are asking for with their dollars.

Younger consumers especially are more interested in information beyond just the ingredients of what they’re purchasing. They want to know about whether the product was fairly traded, what labor practices were involved in its production, certifications and claims made by the company, and animal welfare. 

According to another report from the FMI — “The Future of Food: New Realities for the Industry” — more than half of shoppers are willing to pay more for products that are transparent and reflect their shared value of sustainability. As the FMI said, “technology provides them the ability to inform themselves of the journey their food takes from its source to consumption. Retailers must be ready to respond with the information consumers want.” 

At Fusionware, we not only make that technology possible, but we value transparency and access to information just as much as the end consumers do.

Knowledge is power

Without any transparency, the global food supply chain is a tangle of confusion for most consumers. Things move quickly — and often, from across the world — and it could be easy for knowledge about the food they’re consuming to get lost in the madness. Gone are the days where the majority of consumers either grow their own food, or purchase from someone they know and trust. 

But just because we’ve evolved into a more fast-paced, globalized, interconnected supply chain doesn’t mean that trust between consumers and producers/retailers has to be lost completely. 

At the end of the day, consumers want to be confident in food product claims of what they buy (Is this tomato really organic? Are they sure this bread was baked in a facility with no nuts?). They want to know more than ever where their products have come from: did these avocados come from a local farmer? Or have they been in the back of a truck shipped from a different country? And if they came from another country, what are the health and safety standards for food there? Have there been any instances of foodborne illness in the farming industry there?

And customers want to be confident in the process that created the products they buy: are the farmers who grew their produce engaged in fair labor practices? When it comes to their shopping list for the holiday cookout, how was animal welfare at the farm that produced the ground beef they’re buying? 

According to the FMI, Millennials in particular are more interested than older generations in information like fair trade, labor practices, or health and safety claims made by companies from whom they’re purchasing. 

When it comes to the future of food retail, it’s clear: the next era of grocery shoppers want to know about the journey their food has taken, from farm to their dinner table. It’s time to give them that information, as much as possible.

How Fusionware helps customers get the transparency they’re asking for 

We live in a world with more information available than ever before in history. But how to access it? And share it with your customers? 

Fusionware helps answer both those questions, and therefore helps customers get exactly what they’ve increasingly been asking for: the story of their food.

With integrated transportation and logistics data from the Fusionware platform, the supply chain of a product can be traced from beginning to end. This not only helps promote trust with the end consumer, but that traceability also increases overall efficiency of the supply chain, which  reduces risk of foodborne illness (fewer foodborne illness outbreaks = more trust in the supply chain from consumers). 

Fusionware offers real-time data: minute-to-minute updates on where food is in the supply chain. No more, “Well, that crate of potatoes is somewhere between Idaho and Florida this week.” Customers want to know where their food comes from, and with Fusionware’s platform, they can understand that journey better than ever, step by step.

The Fusionware platform also allows producers to engage directly with customers. That improved communication automatically inspires trust, and allows consumers to have access to the knowledge that will make them confident in the foods they’re purchasing. 

Using the Fusionware receiving portal can make quality control a breeze. Consumers want to know where their food is coming from, but they also want to know that it’s been checked for quality and safety.

And with food safety certifications we help companies get, customers can be more confident than ever that they’re getting the best quality product possible, with transparency about where it came from and where it’s been along the journey. 

“After decades of recalls, scandals, and quality issues in the global supply chain, retail shoppers and restaurant patrons are asking hard questions about where their food comes from, and they deserve answers,” said Dane Dickerson, Director of Marketing at Fusionware. “While this has been possible for select niche, local growers in the past, an end-to-end traceability system like Fusionware makes sharing the story of food production and distribution possible in the reality of today’s global food distribution system.”

Tell the story of the food you’re selling

Peace of mind is more important than it’s ever been. Customers are more cognizant of global issues like fair trade, sustainability, animal welfare, and tangled, fast-paced supply chains. That’s especially true for younger consumers, who will make up a bigger and bigger portion of the overall grocery market as time goes on. 

If companies want to keep up with this new era of traceability and information, it’s time to start prioritizing transparency and honesty about where food comes from, what the journey has been from farm to table, and everything in between.

The bottom line? Customers want to know where their food is coming from. Fusionware can give you the tools to show them that story, in as much detail as possible.

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