The growing customer and consumer need for traceability across different stages of meat

The Growing Customer and Consumer Needs for Traceability Across Different Stages of Meat

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The customers of meats across the world are demanding transparency for their foods. Especially for meats consumed.  Customers demand greater transparency for how their livestock was processed, raised, alongside the necessary nutritional values as well.

Consumers want to be aware of the food safety practices, the environmental impacts, practices for animal care, and the safety of the company workers. In the information age, customers want complete information to make informed choices.

Consumers have started to make an emotional connection to the foods they choose to consume. They want to feel satisfied with where they spend their money and what they are putting into their bodies. This trend has been growing over the past decade and has gained significant traction after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has made it very essential for companies to provide meat traceability for their customers and their regulators. These are heightened and made almost necessary to provide traceability due to increased financial and health concerns.

The Supply Chain Problems that Led to an Increased Demand for Meat Traceability

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain of the meat industry suffered from a disrupted supply chain. The pandemic resulted in increased infection rates inside the meat processing plants, which subsequently curtailed operations in the beef, pork, and poultry plants. It even led to plant closures in some companies.

According to research held during the pandemic, it stated that almost 65% of the meat processing plants had experienced infection outbreaks and 20% were also forced to temporarily suspend their operations in the plants. These resulted in a ripple effect across the world’s meat supply chains.

As the outbreaks started to get public attention, consumers started to grow even warier of meat traceability. Not only did the supply of meat diminish, but the consumer demand also started to at the same time. This was because, due to the lockdowns imposed, people were stuck inside their homes and were forced to eat and cook their food at home.

As a result: there was massive price inflation at the grocery stores, which made it even more difficult for the consumers to feed their families. As the customers started to pay more to buy meat that would nourish their families and read headlines about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the meat supply chain, their demands for increased traceability became greater.

Another disruption of the supply chain occurred in the USA, where ineffective weather conditions in the year 2019 resulted in a smaller soybean and corn harvest. This made it harder and more costly for the hog, cattle, and poultry farmers to feed their herds to keep up with the consumer demands. So some farmers cut corners and provided feed that detrimentally affected the quality of the meat and caused consumer dissatisfaction.

Read More: Importance of Traceability to Food Safety, What are the Challenges?

What is Meat Traceability and How the Use of Technology is Helpful?

In this new post-COVID era for meat safety, traceability is no longer optional for meat companies, it is essential and even enacted by the law in some countries. The increased traceability demand for meat information for the consumers who want to know where their protein is sourced from, requires extensive documentation beginning from the farm to the end product in the stores becomes a must.

The Global Food Traceability Center defines the traceability of consumer foods as “the ability to access all information related to foods under consideration, throughout their life cycle, by a means of recorded identifications.” It goes beyond the information as it’s about linking the data all through the supply chain and also ensures that the processes are coordinated and provide clear end-to-end meat traceability.

Luckily, the bright side of meat traceability is that the technology-enabled traceability is very easy. It helps meet customer demands and regulatory approval while also providing extensive benefits to the meat businesses.

The advantages include improving meat safety, making preventive and corrective actions better, inventory tracking and management, and providing extensive superior customer experiences. They can also help companies in having visibility in the entire supply chain, meat producers can document and link the production, distribution, and processing of the supply chain for meat products.

These result in reducing the operational and market risks, increasing the organizational effectiveness, providing a strong competitive advantage, and a better brand image. Research carried out by The Food Industry Association shows that meat consumers expect their retail and grocery stores to be honest with the product information. 

Almost 65% of meat consumers in the 2019 FMI Trends report stated that ‘having accurate information for their consumed meats was a critical attribute when selecting their primary destination for grocery stores.’ Another important attribute was that they want the producers to be honest and open with their business practices, as it accounted for almost 48% of the respondents.

A study by Label Insight uncovered that 75% of the consumers stated that they would immediately change to a meat brand if it provides complete product information beyond what is printed on the labels. This increased by 36% when compared to the preceding year.

Traceability also increases the trust level of the customers, 86% of the customers say that if the food producers or retailers provide transparent access to easy-to-understand and complete definitions for the ingredients, it would increase their trust for the company and the retailer. 80% even said that transparency will result in permanent loyalty, and 54% even stated that they would not mind paying more for the products that will offer high levels of transparency in the food traceability information.

Meat traceability deployment is growing hand in hand with the demand for increased traceability of meat. Researches indicate that the market for food traceability is going to exceed $18 billion by the end of 2024, it is averaging an expanding compound annual growth rate of 9%.

These startling trends make it clear that meat traceability will influence customer behaviour and the food marketing. The focus is now shifting towards the processes and the ingredients alongside the manufacturer’s backstory, in contrast with traditional advertising campaigns alone.

Why Do Customers Want a Food Traceability System for the Meats they Consume?

The consumer attitude to food traceability has immense importance in the emerging field of Agtech. It provides several benefits to companies and customers. It is critical that small farms, big companies, or foodstuff businesses set up software solutions to cater to meat traceability due to their immense potential. 

It Makes Sure That The Companies Follow Regulations

Meat traceability systems can make sure that the companies comply with all state, local, federal and international regulations. Several international governments have laws that provide the rights to the consumers and these are protected by regulatory authorities.

As a result, meat companies will need to document the movement and the history of the products. Where is the destination for their meat products, and what were the processes that these products went through in their lifecycle.

This meeting of regulation standards is one of the reasons why meat production organizations and businesses require a functional food traceability system for their meat products deployed.

Traceability systems provide extensive documentary evidence and complete details that ensure that all of the processes followed in the production, processing, and transportation meet regulations and are safe for the end consumers.

Improves Customer Satisfaction Level

The customers always want improved customer service. Meat traceability increases loyalty levels and even helps in improving brand equity.

In cases of special meats such as Wagyu beef that has a higher market value due to their unique marbling, a meat traceability system can help in preventing mixing the meat with any other low-value produce that can lead to contamination.

This helps ensure that the meat delivered is authentic, safe, and with all the correct content of ingredients that is also easily visible to the customers.

Growing Demand For Knowing More About What is Consumed

After disastrous incidents such as the horse gate scandal of 2013, consumers demand an increase to have more details of what are the nutrients of the meat they are consuming.

This helps ensure that the ingredients in the meat are safe to consume and also have a transparent identification of all elements in the meat. These increased demands by the customers lead to a network of product traceability.

The structure of the traceability system means every worker must handle products according to standards that are defined to ensure that nothing hazardous is added to the meat.

This has also increased accountability across multiple organizations. As customers become stakeholders in the processes, it introduces the need to ensure transparency in the production, processing, and supplying of these perishable items.

This calls for a more rigorous requirement for ensuring that all of the elements are added proportionally, accurately, and precisely. Having a meat traceability system makes sure that the quality compliance standards are being met by producers. It makes all the data and ingredients visible for customer satisfaction.

Additionally, the availability of accurate data enables the companies to provide a quick detection and then recall for product withdrawals that are discreetly carried out as all destinations are traceable, any emergencies such as a foodborne disease outbreak, and better risk management.

It Ensures the Safety of the Meat

The primary concern of customers is ensuring meat safety. The livestock’s living conditions, health, and processes followed need to be thoroughly documented to make sure that the customers and regulators can be provided direct data on the living conditions.

Traceability systems ensure food safety by making use of data collection that cannot be manipulated. The systems allow for procedural traceability, which means step-by-step tracing. This approach helps cases such as a disease outbreak in the livestock, batch or product contamination, and any other foodborne disease in the public.

In such cases, a deployed traceability system can uncover the core of where the contamination took place. For instance, it could be uncovered if there was an issue with any improper handling of the meat products by a worker, the supplier, or any faulty machine used in processes.

The meat traceability systems are more public health-centered and can help the meat manufacturers avoid the outbreak of foodborne illnesses or deal with these outbreaks effectively.

Once companies have a proper food traceability system installed, their foodstuff businesses can follow the best processes with accountability to avoid affecting the health of the public negatively, and even eliminate the hefty economic or legal ramifications for these contaminated products that make their way into the consumer markets.

There are multiple reasons that customers want food traceability for the meats they consume. Providing customers with this essential information, in the long run, is beneficial for the company as well.

So it is a wise investment with a high return and with low risk. It is best to opt for Agtech solutions for the development of a meat traceability system. It is best to choose a company that is already well-versed in Agtech.

Expert companies have started to introduce machine learning and artificial intelligence to make the solutions smarter and more effective. Companies such as Folio3 have perfected this model, so it is safe and preferable to hire their services for the development of a meat traceability system for your business.

Read More: The Importance of Traceability in Animal Agtech and What Do Big Companies Do?

How Much Do Meat Traceability Technology Solutions Cost?

Companies need capital to support the implementation of traceability technologies, as it is a challenge met by meat businesses. It is preferable for businesses to pay for the progress slowly, but it is more viable to upgrade the entire supply chain and get adequate training to ensure smooth operations. Business analysts estimate across the USA that:

  • The source and age verification for meat could cost up to $386 million. Expenses can vary from sector to sector, the size of operations, and the firm type.
  •  The costs for traceability can cost $2.46 to $4.65 per head for the cow/calf operations, and tagging cattle costs from $5.56 to$6.12 per head. These expenses include the stock costs that range from 15 to 82 cents per head, the feedlot expenses of 13 cents to 55 cents per head and the cost of packaging which costs 19 cents per head. 

Why the high upfront costs?

This new technology has been relatively expensive to traditional means of documentation for food safety and food-wastage concerns. The implementation for small-scale business. This is because they don’t have a big enough market to produce a large return on investment for the systems and the technology to support the traceability systems.

The traceability becomes extremely sequential to track meat from the farm to the processing plants, then to the suppliers, and then to the point of sales.

Traceability can successfully trace safety. As the cost of operations is increased due to the initial investments, the companies can charge a service fee to make up for the investment.

Most of the customers are willing to higher prices for increased traceability, but not large enough at the instant to provide a short and high return on investment.

What are the Advantages of Meat Traceability for Meat Companies?

Help in Increasing the Customer Satisfaction Levels

Perhaps one of the major reasons for meat traceability systems is to ensure that transparency is ensured for the customers. This can help the meat consumers understand where and how their meat is stored.

Most meat consumers have been no idea of meat production, as they are far away from farms and have a very limited understanding of how their food has been raised and put on their plates.

So the companies are obliged to provide their consumers with a high degree of transparency that begins from the farm to their retail or grocery stores. The use of a food traceability system can help earn the trust of the customers and help them in making more informed purchase decisions. This increases their satisfaction levels.

The food processors and retailers will never be the ones who have to admit to the customer that they are unaware of where their meat comes from. It is becoming an anticipated answer by consumers of the post-COVID era.

Customers expect the companies to provide a process description of how the meat ended up in the package elsewhere, for example their websites.

Customers expect the companies to know which farmer raised the cattle, which feed was given to the animal, the fields where the cattle were living in, the processing by the companies, and the transportation conditions of the meat.

In a survey carried out by the NPB, out of 10,000 consumers, 35% of the respondents stated that they are attentive to finding out whether their foods are locally sourced. Customers want meat that tastes good, and they also want to feel good about the food they are consuming.

Traceability helps bridge this gap from the farm to the fork. It is a trend today to tell consumers the story of the journey of the meat and give them continuous reassurance.

Consumers are demanding meat transparency and an increasing pace. This stands particularly true for the young shoppers, who expect the companies to cater to their food-safety information instantly through their smartphones.

So traceability systems can include quick response codes on their packages that will allow shoppers to easily scan and then access the data transparently.

The benefit of the quick response codes on product labels will work with the suppliers so that the consumers can access any data they want. Investments can occur from the processor and the retailer ends to ensure that the information is always accurate.

Increased Return on Investment

There are merely any major obstacles that result in the implementation of these traceability systems. The rate at which the adoption is increasing will increase the return on investment.

According to research by Oklahoma State University, the return on investment from a single strong value-added benefit will cover the costs of the business implementing a traceability scheme.

A benefit for example may consist of processes that will give incentives to meat producers that have a better quality of meat. Then process and package the higher quality at an increased price.

Premium products can be authentic and yield greater profits. The traceability will ensure the food processors track which animals have been bred for quality meat and which producers took alternates and undertook any shortcuts or manipulation.

The relevant data about the slaughtering process and the genetics will be conveyed from the meat producer to the meat processor.

The traceability will also ensure that the information will offset some costs such as food-safety benefits, disease mitigation, and risk management. The customer will be provided with a premium form of meat as per their needs.

Better Quality of Meat

The companies that focus on high-quality products can effectively utilize the food traceability systems. An example is Wagyu beef. The traceability systems contain the information of the animal being slaughtered.

The information includes genetics that will directly be conveyed from the meat producer to the meat processing companies without providing the data to any feedlot or stocker.

Then the Wagyu A5 grade meat can be traced and labelled authentic. The tenderness and the marbling of the beef is something that has a high rating. This quality cannot be compromised, so meat traceability systems can be used.

Customers will pay higher amounts to get the most authentic Wagyu they desire, and meat traceability systems help to maintain the prized high quality. When companies have the backing of a reputable software solution company, the legitimacy of the company increases for the customers and the regulators. 

An Ideal Time to Deploy the Traceability Systems

The food traceability systems have been around for decades to ensure food safety and maintain quality standards for the products. The companies have however not kept up to the customer demands at the same rate.

Customers look for traceability now, which is the next level of branding and purchasing decisions. The post-COVID-19 era is a good time to deploy the meat traceability systems.

The growing demand of customers will eventually be too big to ignore, so it is better to implement these systems as soon as possible, so the business can effectively handle the surge when the time comes.

It is a matter of time before even state regulations will tighten and make the deployment of these systems a necessity. So as the costs are relatively low due to less demand, it is best to hire Agtech companies to deploy meat traceability systems. 

Technology Keeps on Advancing, Which Increases Usability and Flexibility

Meat companies are already digitizing their systems. They are also planning to adopt traceability systems once they find the right software, solution provider.

The software solutions can help in herd management by using RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, these tags help identify each cow as a different object.

This way, even their DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) samples can be stored. To store the details, databases are used to store the data safely and securely with access to privileged users, a location tracker of each cow by making use of the GPS (Global Positioning System) which will allow all the cows to be tracked in real-time.

The activity records of the livestock can also be maintained, all the animals can be digitally stored at the birth of a new calf.

Then their upbringing conditions, transportation, holding at the market, slaughtering, the skinning of the animal, the processing of the meat, their packaging, meat storage, and placement on retail shelves can all be stored in a database.

This system can even capture additional data such as medical treatments, feed conversion rates, and welfare inspections. All of this can be managed by a single Agtech solution that makes use of ERP (enterprise resource planning) software as a service of an expert company.

Companies such as Folio3 are pioneers in the field of Agtech and their solutions are in use currently. They provide affordable packages with consistently well-performing software.

It is most preferable to purchase Agtech solutions for the development of a meat traceability system from Folio3. It is best to choose us as we are already well-versed in Agtech solutions.

How Companies Such as Folio3 Can Help in Achieving Meat Traceability in Agtech?

To achieve traceability in Agtech, it is important to have a solution provider that is competitive, experienced, and has all the resources to develop such a complex system. Having companies that have extensive experience in software solution development, such as Folio3, by your side increases the legitimacy of your traceability system.

Clients and inspectors are also satisfied that such prestigious institutions are working to make sure that everything is according to, if not better, the defined standards.

Timely Solution Delivery for Clients

Any meat traceability solution, that involves software, will almost always deliver later than what the client and the company expect. This is because development is an ongoing process.

Inexperienced companies struggle with timely delivery due to factors such as a lack of experience in developing solutions, lack of skilled team members, and following weak workflow processes.

Folio3 faces no such shortfalls, as we have all the expertise to deliver Agtech solutions well before the deadlines. We have always been doing so. Our traceability solutions are almost always up and running before the deadlines provided by the client.

As a result, it decreases solution development costs as and eliminates any reworking costs that are a burden on the client. We make the most valuable solution for clients to increase their business profits.

Folio3 makes sure that the client has successful deployment, so the business starts to use this traceability system before any delays result in business losses.

Affordable Packages With a Complete Solution Set

Getting a software solution for traceability costs more than what all meat businesses can afford. These costs include the technology costs, software costs, hardware costs, research and development costs, operational costs, and training sessions.

These costs can be too much to bear for developing enterprises, as they perceive this as high risk and low return investment.

However, in reality, it is an investment that provides the best service values after implementation as processes keep on improving.

All of our Agtech solution clients made their businesses increase in effectiveness, satisfaction levels, and reduced operational costs. We make sure that our clients have the best Agtech solutions at their disposal.

Our company has achieved maturity in processes with a level 5 rating, so we can reduce our own operational costs and then provide the best software solutions for meat traceability systems at affordable rates to the clients.

Our solutions come with a complete set, you will not need to hire others after the project to manage the solution or improve it, and you can focus on the business cases while we follow with the software improvements.

Following the Best Working Policy to Deliver the Best Solutions

In order for a software company to provide a great software solution, it is critical for them to have a great process workflow. A good process ensures consistently well-developed software solutions.

Folio3 follows ISO 14001 standards. We deal with our customers effectively as we follow principles that ensure that software business can be conducted with non-technical people easily.

It makes the life of our clients easier. The complete solution developed by us is always up to international standards, and even follows the best practices of our companies by using the expertise of our experienced teams.

These workflows make sure that our clients have solutions that provide maximum return on investment by meeting the business cases and are legitimately well-designed to be long-lasting, maintainable, robust, flexible, learnable, and usable. Our solutions can cater to the needs of small-scale businesses up to large enterprises.

Resource Availability to Provide Personalized Solutions

We have all of the latest hardware, experienced employees, logical software, intellectual capacities, and legal availability as resources to develop meat traceability software solutions. We can implement whatever the client wants.

Our reliable systems can cater to any of the personalization requirements of the client and have completely tailored solution as per their business. Our Off-the-shelf solutions help our clients when they want an affordable solution that caters to general business preferences.

This ensures that our solutions can help clients achieve their business goals. Our company has extensive experience in the field of software solution development of over 15+ years, efficient project managers, skilled software developers, well-versed requirement engineers, insightful software quality assurance engineers, and experienced domain experts who work as a team on real-world problems to develop solutions for Agtech such as meat traceability systems.

We help our customers to have a system that is a complete solution set. It makes managing and tracking the solution easy for our clients.

Safe and Secure Solution Development to Keep Client Data Safe and Secure

The development of Agtech traceability solutions is a task that requires extensive experience to master. If the development is not managed effectively with respect to the standard operating procedures, it can result in serious consequences which can damage the client’s reputation as their opening will become delayed, and even result in business losses.

The traceability solution may have a data leak which can result in complete or partial data loss, which is a situation no client wants to comprehend. Company data can be compromised and then misused as well by competitors. The security breach can be very disastrous as it may compromise the business dealings of the company.

To prevent such dire consequences, Folio3 pays special preferences to cyber-security and digital forensics. We ensure the solution is safe and secure to use. As a result, it has a smaller probability of failure. We make sure that our company:

  • Follows the best working procedures that follow international standards. This makes sure that the client databases are encrypted. This means data cannot be comprehended even if illegal access is secured. This makes the client’s data secure from any external attacks and can deal with them, even after we deliver the solution. Our procedures and standards make sure that traceability development is optimal. This ensures the most secure solution for the client, so the company’s sensitive data cannot be breached, which would otherwise result in exposing business credentials.
  • There are physical servers as well which make backups. This increases data safety internally. In the case of the client’s database server malfunctioning, we always have a ready-to-use backup. This backup can help keep the client data saved in another location so even if errors on the client-side are made, we can ensure recovery, so business is not affected. We prevent the risks and even have operations to perform the best risk management. Our clients thus have a system that is available 24/7 and can even provide an action plan in case something goes wrong.

Transparent Communications That Make Customers Comfortable and Updated

Some software companies act unethically with customers who lack technical knowledge. They make use of shortcuts to get off the hook with their mischief at the expense of the customer.

This is quite dangerous for the business when traceability systems will be used for food safety and make the client accountable for the data. Certain companies may even completely abandon the client and put you in a vulnerable business position if a setback occurs.

Companies such as Folio3 are highly reputable throughout the software world with companies and with clients. We keep our clients comfortable by providing visibility of the processes. We discuss our software constraints, pricing packages, services, and any issue faced by our customers the best we can.

Furthermore, we gain the trust of our customers and deal with them in a way that makes sure that there is no miscommunication, which will decrease the customer satisfaction rates with our company. 

These critical benefits of Folio3 that timely solution delivery for the customer to ensure a timely solution activation timeline, following the best policies that ensure that the end product is of high quality, having all resources to make sure legitimate solutions which are consistently well-performing are given to clients, safe and secure solutions to protect the data integrity of the client, and transparent communications to increase client satisfaction are provided.

The best part is that these come in include packages that are affordable for developing businesses. It is best to opt for meat traceability solutions by choosing Folio3. We are well versed in Agtech solution development and even introduce machine learning and artificial intelligence to make the solutions smarter and more effective.

Companies such as Folio3 have perfected this model, so it is safe and preferable to hire their services for the development of a meat traceability system for your business.


Why is Traceability Important for the Consumer?

Traceability is important for customers as:

  • The customers are expecting the companies to provide accurate information about the meat. Such as the living conditions, the nutrients, and the origin of the meat.
  • Traceability will ensure that the product is fit for consumer consumption, as it has undergone a quality control system that made it fit for consumption.
  • It provides the certifications and tests to ensure that the food is safe to consume.
  • Customers can see whether the company has followed the regulations of the state.
  • There is increased demand for the customer to have an in-depth knowledge of the products they will consume as people have increased concerns after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Customers can make well-informed decisions.

Is Traceability Important to You as a Consumer?

Yes, meat consumers find that traceability for meat is of essential importance. They are important as the customers want to know what they are consuming, where their meat is sourced from, is the meat fit for consumption, and to make decisions that are well-informed for the consumption. For the meat businesses, it is best to opt for meat traceability solutions by choosing Folio3.

About Folio3 AgTech Practice

Folio3 is a Silicon Valley based Digital Transformation partner for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies with a special focus on digitization of Agriculture, Production and Companion Animal industry. Having worked with some of the world’s leading animal health companies, cattle associations, cow-calf operators, cattle feeders, beef processors and beef marketing companies, we have the design and development expertise required to help you digitize your manual procedures and practices, whether you’re a farm or a ranch owner, veterinarian, feedlot manager, nutritionist, or processing plant owner, we have got you covered.

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