A 2016 study by Labelinsight suggests that 94% of consumers want more transparent information about food products. A further 37% would change brands if more information were available, especially digitally. Moreover, the study revealed that 75% of consumers do not trust food label accuracy and a further 35% find ingredient information confusing. Amid concerns for their overall health and wellbeing, consumers are increasingly interested in the transparency of food origin and ingredients (traceability) as well as verification of lifestyle or faith-based methods of production and preparation such as halal, kosher, vegan and vegetarian (trust). They are concerned about food quality and safety (recall) and food authenticity (anti-counterfeit). There is little doubt that contemporary consumers expect the food industry to be more transparent but there is a gap between consumer expectations and what industry can deliver. INEXTO is helping organizations to bridge this gap.
A growing body of empirical evidence highlights that consumers purchasing decisions are based on trust, and trust is influenced by transparency. Within the supply chain context, transparency relates to the flow of information, as such, it can reduce conflict between trading parties and with competent authorities. More specifically, transparency is defined as the ability for stakeholders to access product information without loss, noise, delay or distortion. Therefore, transparency aids in the safeguarding of traceability, quality, safety and authenticity of food products. An article in the Harvard Business Review in 2012 by Julia Kirby further noted “by giving people a window into its workings, a company can show it has a sound process that it is adhering to. It can avoid asking customers to have faith in a black box. The greater that transparency, the greater the trust”.
In the past, organizations inwardly focused and lacked effective strategies and technologies to engage with stakeholders. They controlled the flow of company and product information tightly and public opinion was viewed as a threat. The digital paradigm has created a ‘new normal’ driven by consumers with mobile devices and social media access. Responsible businesses are now engaging stakeholders more effectively, recognizing the importance of serving their customers and the public interest. They acknowledge that food chain transparency is no longer an option but fundamental for building trust and unleashing additional business and stakeholder value.
Organizations are embracing advanced technologies to facilitate the journey towards improved transparency and increased trust. INEXTO provides cutting edge traceability, recall and anti-counterfeit capabilities, complimented by mobile tools for consumers and competent authorities to access supply chain information and authenticate food products. INEXTO bridges the transparency gap, eliminates the ‘black-box’ and provides a platform for trust and ethical trading.