In a new report, Radical Transparency: The rise of disruptive consumerism, published in association with sustainability consultants Veris Strategies, Cranswick appealed for the food industry to demonstrate more accountability across the supply chain.
The report, which was based on both consumer and industry research, makes a case for the entire food industry to be able to give assurances on hygiene, safety, ethics and sustainability standards to a public whose trust in the food system has been eroded.
Cranswick warned that businesses that don’t get on board with the need for transparency may find themselves falling behind. The company predicted that that in the future, shoppers would want to access real-time information on traceability issues from the convenience of their smartphone as part of an ‘open kitchen’ approach.
Cranswick chief executive Adam Couch said the origin of where meat came from was something the business wanted to focus on. “We already invest heavily in integrated supply chains to offer full traceability from farm to fork and insist on high standards pertaining to ethics and animal welfare,” he said.
“As a company we will continue to build on these commitments, but if we are to help futureproof the entire industry, we will have to work with others. To do this, we need to engage and raise awareness of the issue, which is why we have teamed up with Veris Strategies to produce this report.”
In the report, Couch said individual incidents were damaging the entire sector’s reputation. “Reports of food scares continue to surface; while these are isolated incidents and not representative of the food industry as a whole, they are clearly damaging to the industry’s reputation.
“Over time, this has led to an erosion of public trust, leading many to fundamentally question the nature of our food system.”
Blockchain technology, which harvests tamper-proof data on the origin and authenticity of food products, on-pack certification labels and logos to communicate information to consumers and data use could also improve transparency, Couch claimed.
Cranswick’s group commercial director Jim Brisby called on food manufacturers to do more to meet the demands of the modern consumer. “Sustainability, provenance and health are now key issues for shoppers. The whole food supply chain needs to be more visible so people can reconnect with where their food comes from. We fully intend to be at the forefront of driving this agenda forward.
“This report has informed our future direction on transparency and provenance, and will continue to shape our own sustainability policy, Second Nature. I hope others will follow our lead and join us on this journey.”
Professor Chris Elliott OBE, director of the Institute for Global Food Security, welcomed the report. “I highly commend the company for taking such bold and dynamic steps forward in terms of the transparency agenda,” he said.
“The ultimate goal must be that our UK citizens will once more start to trust the food that they rely on. Trust that has been lost due to scandal after scandal. To me, Cranswick is doing exactly the right thing at the right time and I can only hope others will follow suit.”