With the globalization of the food supply chain, the risk of contamination has risen. E. coli outbreaks, horse meat scandals, and other food controversies made consumers concerned about poor food handling, bacteria contamination. They want to know more about farming practices and the freshness of their food. Technology and connectivity have advanced customers’ expectations for tracking their food from farm to fork.
Food companies cannot solely rely on brand recognition and marketing, they need to develop long-term relationships with current customers and acquire new ones by offering complete product transparency. The study conducted by Label Insight shows that 94% of the consumers expect brands and manufacturers to provide transparent information about the ingredients and the preparation of their food.
Traceability, transparency, and control in the current system, where ingredients can bounce along a chain from farmer to manufacturer to distributor to retailer, sometimes with additional steps in between, is often a nearly impossible task. Working directly with farmers provides greater clarity on when an item is being harvested, from what kind of soil, by whom, how it’s cleaned and packaged and delivered. It also provides an opportunity for collaboration.
Supply chain collaboration of small and medium enterprises can ensure faster, reliable and more cost-efficient distribution of products and increase value for the consumer. Instead of classic commercial relationship, the collaborators have relational exchange and benefit in all supply chain activities (faster procurement, knowledge sharing, more flexible distribution, more accurate forecast, and improved product availability).