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Ensuring consumers have accurate information about where their food is coming from has become more important than ever. That’s because in recent years, public debate about everything from the use of pesticides to the rise of genetically modified foods has sparked growing concerns about the safety of our food.
Recently Meyers Norris Penny conducted a “state of the industry” report aimed at evaluating traceability in the B.C. agri-food sector, including potential areas for improvement. The report was commissioned by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and was funded under the Agriculture Policy Framework, a federal/provincial/territorial initiative.
The report’s findings were based on a survey that included interviews with 45 respondents representing processors, primary producers, wholesale distributors and retailers, as well as questionnaire feedback from 60 respondents. The results provide valuable insights to grocers and other key stakeholders involved in Western Canada’s food industry.
Strategies for improving traceability
Several key observations on how the agri-food industry can enhance and refine its current system of traceability and trackability were identified. Among these recommendations were:
Farm to the Fork Reassurance For Your Customers
How do you measure the impact of a loss in customer confidence? In a market place inundated with food safety issues and claims, consumers are increasingly demanding to know where their food comes from and how it was grown. Grocery stores carrying products with effective traceability and trackability systems - and that communicate these systems to customers - are differentiated as outlets committed to consumer safety. They are also viewed as stores that stand behind the claims made by the products they carry. Their products are further differentiated from imports that lack Canadian health and safety standards, thereby strengthening the “buy Canadian” value perspective. This, in turn, can translate into greater customer loyalty to your stores.
As far as consumers are concerned, the buck stops at the grocery store checkout. What are you doing to ensure consumers know your operation and your suppliers have effective traceability and trackability systems in place? These systems identify responsibility - and thus liability - in today’s marketplace, while maintaining crucial consumer confidence.
Don’t wait for a crisis or a recall. Be proactive by establishing comprehensive traceability and trackability protocols that are enforced with your suppliers and communicated to your customers. This initiative will further differentiate your store brand, while providing your customers with one more reason to buy their groceries from you!
By Andrew J. Raphael, Director of Agri-Food. For more information, please contact your local MNP advisor or Andrew at 1.877.688.8408.
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