‘Digital Sandwich’ awarded £4m to enhance traceability in food chain

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Raynor Foods led 'Digital Sandwich' aimed to boost traceability in the food supply chain
Raynor Foods led 'Digital Sandwich' aimed to boost traceability in the food supply chain

Related tags Artificial intelligence IoT

A consortium of food manufacturers, universities and tech developers – led by 2020 overall Food Manufacture Excellence Award winner Raynor Foods – has been awarded £4m to help digitalise the food supply chain.

The ‘Digital Sandwich’ will utilise advanced Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and artificial intelligence technology to enhance the level of traceability of ingredients in the production of commercial, pre-packaged sandwiches. UK Research and Innovation has provided £4m of funding to support the project.

The principles established in developing this new platform are intended to be both scalable to the entire food industry, and adaptable to include other industries with similar resourcing patterns.

Industry partners

Partners include Raynor Foods, supply chain equipment provider Chep, DNA tech developer IMS evolve and the University of Lincoln. The company first referred to its participation in the Digital Sandwich project in an earlier Food Manufacture​ Me & My Team profile​. 

Matt Raynor, Raynor Foods chair and Digital Sandwich project lead, commented: “The project will open up this new technology to SMEs in the food sector, bringing the benefits of securely sharing information up and down the supply chain to the largest single sector of companies. This technology will be a massive benefit for the companies concerned and for UK plc.”

The project is still in its early stages, with development expected over the course of 24 months, with the ultimate aim to give every item of food a digital identity, with clear data on quality and ethical sourcing.

Improve consumer health

Potential also exists to extend data sharing to collect consumer behavioural data through integration with health and diet apps and, in so doing, improve the diet and health of consumers.

IMS Evolve director of IoT solutions Ed Ported added: “This technology is designed to be open to organisations of all sizes across the supply chain, right down to the smallest producer, meaning that anyone can benefit from the increased productivity, food quality and safety and reduction in waste that this project promises to deliver.”​ 

Raynor Foods won the top trophy - Food Manufacture​ Company of The Year - at the 2020 Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards. Finalists for the 2021 awards - sponsored by Dawn Foods​ and Fowler Welch​ - have been announced on the official awards website​, including the shortlist for the 2021 Business Leader of the Year Award, which is decided by readers. Online voting has commenced on the awards site, where votes can be cast​.

All the award winners will be announced in a virtual ceremony on 11 February from 5pm to 6pm. Look out for more details!

Meanwhile, Princes has launched on-pack quick response 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.

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