A Traceability Model for Beef Product Origin Within a Local Institutional Value Chain
AbstractThe lack of suitable systems to track farm and meat attributes through supply chains is a recognized market barrier, particularly for midsized farms. Even though midsized farms tend to have a comparative advantage in producing differentiated products, there is a disconnect between how these products are produced and the consumer's ability to distinguish them from commodity products. In many midscale marketing scenarios, the missing link is a functional information value chain to supply product information to consumers who value those attributes. Automatic identification and data-capture technologies offer the feasibility for animal and product data collection and tracking. Radio frequency identification (RFID) and two-dimensional (2D) barcodes provide the essential unique identification, which is the requisite for development of a dynamic traceability system. A study was conducted using RFID of beef animals and transferring information to 2D barcodes on beef carcasses and beef packages. Scanning of 2D barcodes on the resulting beef packages provided farm and animal information, including product origination, via a web-accessible database. When a sample of 347 consumers was presented with a flyer displaying a 2D barcode, 16 percent scanned the code to view the farm-of-origin website. As consumers place increasing value on food choices, traceability systems that clearly differentiate products will result in monetary rewards to participants in the value chain. Adopting traceability systems like the model outlined herein is expected to facilitate creation of regional food systems and serve to better connect consumers with farmers.
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