Food traceability solution helps SMEs win business
European legislation is forcing companies to track their products wherever they are in the food chain. Research partners and industrial groups from the 24-month food traceability project P2P have been working with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the pork industry to create an easy-to-use software system for monitoring foodstuffs that is also good for business.
According to Anna Tavernari, P2P coordinator for CNA Associazione Provinciale di Modena and Massimo Garuti, coordinator for project partner Democenter, just to have their products monitored in such an open way will bestow a huge competitive advantage on the SMEs using the environment. 'Being able to show the position of their products in the food chain will build trust and attract customers who until now have been reticent about buying from suppliers which couldn't produce a verifiable audit trail,' says Tavernari.
Free to those SMEs which took part in P2P, the traceability software TraceSW can be integrated with the SME's own IT system, or shared as a service with other SMEs from Centres run by the IAGs themselves. Trace can also be used by companies in other sectors and it's expected that each IAG will sell the Trace software to outside consultancies, providing a valuable revenue stream for its own members.
A downloadable version of the Trace browser has been made available to interested parties, and it's hoped that the Service Centres will help SMEs further by promoting their business through a web-based portal, a kind of shop window into their activities which should reassure consumers these are the kinds of businesses they should be buying from.
A mobile version of Trace will also be made available to vets and other officials who spend a large part of their time out of the 'office' yet need to access traceability data as part of their job.
'More revenue can be earned by customising this mobile version for distributors and supermarkets,' adds Garuti. 'Being able to let customers see where the food they're about to buy has come from, as well as its composition, will bestow these companies with huge competitive advantage.