Enhanced Traceability Benefits Producers and Buyers

CANADA - The dean of the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences suggests the benefits and perceived benefits of enhanced traceability offer potential advantages for both farmers and consumers, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 2 June 2009
clock icon 2 minute read
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As part of Trace R&D 2009, underway today and tomorrow in Winnipeg, scientists, industry stakeholders and government representatives are examining the latest in traceability technology and gathering input for a national traceability research strategy for Canada.

Dr. Michael Trevan concedes the advantages of traceability are somewhat nebulous, but there are benefits to be had.

Dr. Michael Trevan-University of Manitoba

Industry can benefit from it if it can demonstrate that it is able to add value to a product because it can say exactly where it's come from, where it's been, how it's been handled all the way down the food chain.

The consumer can benefit because they'll have confidence in the fact that they know this, for example, piece of beef comes from Manitoba and that's what they want to buy as opposed to a piece of beef that's come from Brazil.

That's a simplistic example but the perception of benefit is in actual fact a really quite important thing here.

The way in which food chains have developed, particularly in Europe where there is a marketing technique which actually has been in place for a long time, where essentially what the supermarket says is, look here's a little booklet about Fred who produces our cheese in his sort of artisanal way in middle England, for example, and that we have the system that says that we know that this cheese was made by him on these particular dates.

That sells the product at a premium price but also the producer gets a premium price for it so the value is enhanced all the way through the food chain and the customer gets something that they appreciate as well and is prepared to pay more for.

Following the conference a report, containing the outline of a national research strategy, will be produced for wider discussion among industry, policy bodies and technologists.

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