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Paths to Food Traceability: Consumer Views of Truth// // //

By Micki Seibel and Sarah Williams

Orange Silicon Valley, and Food System 6 teamed up to research and publish a insights about the challenges of food traceability. While transparency is a goal that stakeholders throughout the food system share, the obstacles for consumers, supply chains, brands, and entrepreneurs can be entrenched and nuanced. Below is the first of four parts of our assessment establishing where these obstacles exist and opportunities to overcome them.

Food Traceability

Throughout the world’s food system, traceability has become a lightning rod for conversations and business activity in recent years. Drivers include consumer demand, new regulatory requirements, and increasing supply-chain efficiency, all of which play key roles easing and growing business operations. Definitions for traceability goals and obstacles along the path to realizing those goals, however, vary by stakeholder. Over the course of our four-part look at traceability challenges for consumers, the global supply chain, brands, and entrepreneurs, we will explore how these obstacles vary. In order to get closer to a larger solution, unique needs for each of those crucial parts of the food system must be met. Our interest in traceability comes from the fact that it is a key leverage point for a more sustainable food system. As our knowledge builds around the practices and product attributes that serve to sustainably feed the world’s growing population, the ability to track and trace information associated with food products and their ingredients is critical. We set out to tell this story by asking a few key questions: First, what’s driving the adoption of traceability practices? Next, what are the pain points that actors throughout the food system face in implementing those practices? And third, how can entrepreneurs respond to market-driven traceability demands? Our journey took us through the supply chain from growers to distributors, and to retailers and restaurants. We looked across a range of sectors, from seafood to produce to processed foods. In doing so, we talked to stakeholders in the private sector, public sector and NGO’s.

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