In an attempt to gauge the future of food transparency, Hull-headquartered food producer Cranswick commissioned research from consumers and industry experts and released its findings in a new report.
This follows a nationwide review of the meat industry earlier this year after a number of high profile food safety breaches at processing facilities. With this in mind, and public trust in the food system waning, Cranswick has released its Radical Transparency: The rise of disruptive consumerism report.
According to the report, growing consumer demand for new levels of transparency is set to disrupt the food industry.
As demand for food provenance grows, the industry must be able to demonstrate greater accountability across the entire farm to fork supply chain, not just to future-proof business but to give added assurances on hygiene, safety, ethics and sustainability standards as transparency becomes an ever-increasing critical issue.
It predicts that in the future, shoppers will want to access real-time information on traceability issues from the convenience of their smartphone as part of this ‘open kitchen’ approach.
The ‘open kitchen’ analogy can also be applied to social media, which has increasingly empowered consumers to instantly question and take brands to task when their actions cause confusion.
The report has been endorsed by Professor Chris Elliott OBE, Director of the Institute for Global Food Security and faculty pro-vice chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast. In 2013, Professor Elliott led an independent review of the UK’s food system following the horsemeat scandal.
“I highly commend the company for taking such bold and dynamic steps forward in terms of the transparency agenda,” he said.
“The ultimate goal must be that our UK citizens will once more start to trust the food that they rely on. Trust that has been lost due to scandal after scandal. To me, Cranswick is doing exactly the right thing at the right time and I can only hope others will follow suit.”
Cranswick CEO Adam Couch said being able to prove the origin of where meat comes from is fast becoming a business-critical issue, and his company wants to drive this agenda forward.
“We already invest heavily in integrated supply chains to offer full traceability from farm to fork and insist on high standards pertaining to ethics and animal welfare,” he said.
“As a company we will continue to build on these commitments, but if we are to help future-proof the entire industry, we will have to work with others. To do this, we need to engage and raise awareness of the issue, which is why we have produced this report.”