Food Traceability Research Poster


ChainLink has created a beautiful 48″ X 36″ poster summarizing the results of our recent research of the food supply chain looking at how food traceability supports food safety, track and trace, branding, and supply chain efficiency.


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Our research explored:

  • Where and how is traceability being used today in the food industry?
  • What are the primary objectives of food traceability initiatives? Not just safety, but also for certifying foods with specialized attributes (e.g. certified organic, fair-trade, free-range, etc.).
  • How do traceability requirements differ between different food sectors, which have dramatically different product and supply chain characteristics? From the farm or ranch or grower, through grain elevators, packers, shippers, food processing, wholesalers, distributors, through to the restaurants, grocery stores, and other channels.
  • What information is collected, where in the supply chain, and at what level of granularity?

The poster provides visual data and insights of the research findings including:

  • Drivers and Objectives: Why food traceability including Safety, Brand Authentication/Enhancement, Supply Chain Efficiencies
  • Traceability Architecture: 1-up/1-back vs. End-to-end traceability
  • Traceability Solution Components
  • Supply Chain Schematics: Detailed product flow charts, showing the structure and players in the seven major food supply chains: Grains & seeds, Produce, Meat, Dairy, Seafood, Beverage, and Others.

Some conclusions from the research

Drivers of traceability can be broadly divided into safety (damage control) vs. brand enhancement (enabling premium pricing). Efficiency is not yet a major driver but holds potential.

Requirements and implementation differ markedly based on supply chain structure.

Most implementations today are of the “one-up/one-back” variety (only tracking immediate and inputs and outputs to a plant), rather than “network-wide”. Network-wide traceability infrastructures appear primarily when there is strong government involvement, or when a very powerful supply chain player (e.g. Walmart) makes demands of the end-to-end supply chain.

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