Innovation That Matters

Ten examples of brands dishing up details on food origins

Manufacturing

This is the fifth and final post in a series of articles on traceability. Written by Springwise, and supported by IBM. Check out our previous posts on informing consumers about child labour, milk tracking by a Swedish dairy, a registration service for product recalls and supermarkets offering increased food traceability, or read more about building a smarter planet. _________ For today’s post, we’ve collected examples of ten food brands that give consumers access to information on the origins of their products’ ingredients. While these efforts are baby steps toward true traceability — and critics are somewhat justified in their assertion that images of verdant fields and smiling farmers are little more than marketing tools — smart brands are nonetheless moving in the direction of increased transparency. 1. Stone-Buhr — Buyers of Stone-Buhr’s All Purpose Flour can type in a lot code on the company’s website to see which family farms grew the grain. Stone-Buhr’s emphasis is on spotlighting the family-owned farms in the Northwest who supply it with certified sustainable wheat. 2. Coca-Cola — In the UK, Coca-Cola launched a web app that allows consumers to trace the origin of their can or bottle of Coke. Instead of divulging the sources of ingredients, Coca-Cola focuses on manufacturing locations, distribution and environmental impact. It estimates the carbon footprint of a drink, and shows the address of the factory it was made in. 3. Askinosie — Missouri-based chocolate maker Askinosie invites customers to enter a ‘Choc-O-Lot’ number to view the chocolate’s geographical origin, as well as information about the farmers who grew the cocoa beans. The tool highlights the company’s commitment both to quality and to a fair deal for farmers. Askinosie buys directly from farmers in Mexico, Phillipines, Tanzania and Ecuador, and doesn’t purchase beans until they’ve met the farmers in person. 4. Dole Organic — Dole lets consumers “travel to the origin of each organic product”. By typing in a fruit sticker’s three-digit code on Dole Organic’s website, customers can find the story behind their banana or pineapple. Each farm’s section on the website includes background info, shows photos of the crops and workers and tells consumers more about the origin of Dole’s organic products. 5. Chippindale Foods — Chippindale Foods supplies free range eggs to supermarkets in northern England. The company created wheresyoursfrom.com to allow consumers to find out where their eggs were laid. After entering the code printed on an egg carton, people can view pictures of ‘their’ farmer and hens, and read a history of the farm. 6. Frito-Lay — Another big brand that’s embracing traceability is Frito-Lay. Its Chip Tracker lets consumers trace where a particular bag of chips was made, by entering their ZIP code along with the first three digits of the bag’s product code. The site returns a specific location along with its annual output. An associated map, meanwhile, highlights both growing and production facilities. 7. Fresh Express — A subsidiary of Chiquita Brands and purveyor of washed and packaged salad greens, Fresh Express allows consumers to find the origin of their salad through a ‘Leaf Locator’ on the company’s website. Fresh Express sources leafy greens from five US states and Mexico, and includes details on a location’s climate, growing season and agricultural history. 8. Crop to Cup — Through Crop to Cup’s website, consumers can trace their coffee back to the farmers who produced it. Drinkers of Uganda Bugisu coffee, for example, can read a profile of Peter Guimuii, who is married, has six children and approximately 5,000 coffee trees. The detailed personal information provided underscores Crop to Cup’s goal of improving farmers’ livelihoods. 9. Domino’s Pizza — Pizza lovers don’t enter product codes on ‘Behind the Pizza’, which was created by Domino’s to give consumers more information on how their pizza ingredients are made. While the site does show manufacturing plants and farms it works with, the focus here is more on edutainment than targeted transparency. 10. Iglo — First featured on Springwise in 2008, ‘Woher kommt Ihr Spinat’ is still going strong. Created by Iglo, a European market leader in the frozen foods segment, the program gives consumers access to details on where their spinach came from. Offsetting its Big Brand reputation, Iglo displays pictures of the spinach grower and his or her family, alongside information about the farm.

Website: springwise.com/traceability/

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