Princes pursues transparency with Napolina QR codes

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Princes sees the labelling move as part of a wider response to shoppers demanding more transparency from processors
Princes sees the labelling move as part of a wider response to shoppers demanding more transparency from processors

Related tags Ambient Supply chain Packaging & labelling

Princes has launched on-pack quick response (QR) codes on its Napolina canned tomatoes, enabling smartphone users to view their quality and sustainability credentials as part of a broader blockchain-enabled transparency drive.

The first products featuring a new on-pack QR code are now on shelves. The story will be supported by data, enabling shoppers to trace the journey of the tinned tomatoes, from farming co-operatives to supermarket shelves.

The information provided, which is backed by the launch of a responsible sourcing web page communicates the environmental and social impact of the products.

The initiative is part of a wider Princes vision and project, in partnership with Provenance – a leading transparency programme with software enabled by blockchain, mobile and open data – to unlock greater supply chain transparency and enhance trust.

Coldiretti partnership

It is supplemented by existing work already taking place through Princes’ partnership with Coldiretti, Italy’s leading agricultural union, which has invested in blockchain technology.

At this initial stage, Provenance’s software gathers and presents information and stories about Napolina’s products and supply chains in a Product Passport. This includes verified data to demonstrate the claims' accuracy through a Proof Points feature.

“We are very aware that we can only build trust and loyalty with shoppers by giving them meaningful assurance on our brand values of transparency and our sustainability efforts,"​ said Princes’ Italian products commercial director Neil Brownbill. "By providing on-pack QR codes, we are engaging shoppers with a mobile-friendly experience that is supported by data from our supply chain and the Provenance platform.


"Our consumers can now clearly see how these products are made, where they come from and who was involved. The Provenance partnership will also provide us with a greater understanding of the particular areas our customers care about, alongside a stronger feedback loop to inform our future efforts in this area.”

Princes corporate relations director David McDiarmid said: “We have long taken a proactive approach on human rights issues in Italian agriculture and worked hard to ensure growers in our supply chain are supported, including making sure they receive a fair and profitable price from us for their tomatoes.

"While many of our customers are aware of our approach, we want to broaden the transparency of this work and our sourcing decisions, for the benefit of further retailers and the millions of families that enjoy Napolina. Our new partnership with Provenance is now allowing us to tell this story clearly and conveniently via their sharing tools, and will help us to build shopper trust through greater supply chain and impact transparency.

"We hope that by making this more of a consumer issue we can raise the profile and action by supply chain stakeholders, not just in tomatoes but many other Italian agricultural products that are touched by the same human rights issues.” 

Transparency with integrity

Jessi Baker, founder and chief executive officer at Provenance, added: “There is significant growth in the market for products labelled as ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ – but the next iteration of this is transparency with integrity. Citizens are expecting brands to be more open so that we can all make more conscious, informed purchasing decisions.

"This partnership with Princes is about helping get the information into the hands of shoppers and creating a more honest dialogue about the work that’s being done and in progress towards a more positive food system.”

Princes processes 250m tomato products annually at its Foggia facility, across the full Napolina brand portfolio, as well as customer own-brand products, which are marketed and distributed across Europe.

The Provenance partnership follows Princes’ recent agreement with Coldiretti to provide financial stability for growers through guaranteed three-year supply contracts, while ensuring that the pricing of tomatoes reflects the true costs of farming to enable the long-term sustainability of the industry.


That agreement includes a commitment by Coldiretti farmers to participate in using blockchain digital traceability technology to monitor and protect workers’ safety rights throughout the supply chain.

In 2018 Princes also announced its intention that 100% of the tomatoes processed from its Italian supply chain would come from farms with independent ethical accreditation, through either Global GAP with GRASP assessment or SA8000 certification.

Global GAP is the worldwide standard for agricultural practice. GRASP is a voluntary, ready-to-use module, developed to assess social practices on farms, including workers’ health, safety and welfare, contracts, wages and freedom of representation. 

Princes’ transparency project with Provenance will also extend to its seafood products. Later this month, the group aims to launch on-pack traceability on Princes brand tuna and other fish products in the Netherlands and in the supply of own label tuna for Coop Scandinavia.

Related topics Ambient foods Packaging & Labelling

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