Innovation That Matters

Supermarkets offer increased food traceability, for info and safety


This is the second in a series of posts on traceability. Written by Springwise, and supported by IBM. Check out our previous post, or read more about building a smarter planet. _________ From bananas and spinach to coffee and chocolate, we’ve covered a variety of food tracking concepts that were mainly focused on the ‘softer’ side of traceability, giving consumers a sense of connection to the sources of their food and the people who grow it. While those individual efforts are immensely valuable as marketing and information tools, both producers and consumers stand to benefit from a more widely accepted and recognized method of tracking food. A recent example of an integrated approach to fresh food traceability is HarvestMark‘s partnership with The Kroger Company (2,468 supermarkets in 31 states). Kroger’s private label produce brands now feature sixteen-digit codes by HarvestMark, allowing consumers to find out where their food was grown, when it was packed, how it should be stored, etc. HarvestMark — a Redwood City-based provider of food tracking solutions — offers a free iPhone app that lets shoppers access information straight from the store, using their phone’s camera to scan a product’s barcode. Alternatively, they can access the information from the company’s homepage. And in the event of a product recall, consumers can quickly check whether the food in their fridge is affected. Kroger is the first retailer to offer HarvestMark on its private label brands. For food producers and packagers, heightened concerns about product recalls (and accompanying legislation) mean that the race is on to find a traceability standard. Not in the least because dealing with multiple systems is confusing, wasteful and inefficient. Add to that consumer interest in food provenance, and it’s no surprise that this market is ripe with opportunity, especially for front-runners who can appeal to the needs of all parties involved: producers, packagers, retailers and consumers. Websites:




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