WICHITA, Kan. — Turkey farmer Darrell Glaser buys his Thanksgiving hen on the native grocery retailer, similar to most people.
However this Thanksgiving season, the Texas producer will be capable to discover out the place the Honeysuckle White turkey he places into his purchasing cart was raised — and even know if it is among the birds from his personal Milam County farm.
Turkey patrons in choose Texas markets will be capable to both textual content or enter on the Honeysuckle White web site the code discovered on the tag on the packaged hen to seek out out the place it was raised and get details about the farm’s location, view farm images and browse the farmer’s message.
“What traceability does is simply enable us to attach with the patron,” Glaser mentioned. “And I believe over time there was a disconnect. Individuals have sort of misplaced the place their meals comes from and this can be a approach to re-establish that line of communication.”
Glaser is an impartial farmer who raises about 600,000 birds a yr for Cargill’s Honeysuckle White model, and is amongst 4 Texas farmers taking part available in the market check. The traceable turkeys within the pilot undertaking gained’t value greater than untagged birds, and after the check the Minneapolis-based Cargill Inc. and its Honeysuckle White model says it would assess its effectiveness and worth to find out additional implementation of the digital know-how and any worth changes.
The pilot undertaking marks the agribusiness big’s entry right into a burgeoning farm-to-table motion pushed by individuals who wish to know the place their meals comes from and the way it was produced. It’s also an indication of the success pushed by sustainable meals advocates who’ve been selling such connections as a means for farmers to market domestically grown and raised meals.
“When the massive firms see that success, they’re going to bounce in and attempt to become profitable off it,” mentioned Mary Fund, government director of the Kansas Rural Heart, an advocacy group that promotes ecologically and socially accountable meals techniques.
Massive agribusiness firms like Cargill and Tyson had been instrumental in concentrating poultry manufacturing on farms and processing entities — eliminating the infrastructure that was there to help smaller native producers, Fund mentioned. Now Cargill is in a way “turning again to that mannequin” by making an attempt to faucet into the will that buyers have for an identifiable product.
“It’s a powerful factor as a result of the native and regional meals manufacturing and advertising and marketing system will not be actually in a position to fulfill the demand that’s on the market,” Fund mentioned. “So we aren’t naive in considering that you will be capable to develop sufficient turkeys or poultry at an actual native stage and feed everyone.”
Cargill is the nation’s third largest turkey producer, and is among the many high 5 firms that collectively elevate 65 % of U.S. turkey manufacturing, mentioned Simon Shane, an business marketing consultant and adjunct professor at North Carolina State College.
“Will it affect the remainder of the business? Solely in respect to branded objects, there isn’t any level in doing it for generics,” Shane mentioned. “However the business is transferring over to manufacturers.”
The pilot undertaking will inform the corporate as to the worth of provide chain transparency to shoppers and its affect on gross sales, mentioned Deborah Socha, Honeysuckle Model supervisor. Based mostly on these findings, Cargill will develop its digital provide chain in the US and globally.
Cargill’s turkey model is its first throughout the firm to experiment with blockchain know-how, a clear cloud-based system that permits a number of folks to contribute, however not in any other case change, the availability chain document, mentioned Deb Bauler, Cargill’s chief info officer. It’s the identical safe know-how created for the digital foreign money bitcoin.
Honeysuckle White touts an inner 2014 research of turkey shoppers which discovered 44 % thought it was vital for firms to be clear, and a 2016 research from Nielsen International Components that discovered 73 % of shoppers really feel positively about firms which can be clear about how its meals merchandise are made.
“Honeysuckle White has been listening to what the shoppers have mentioned and located that when it got here to feeding their household, they actually wish to really feel assured in realizing the place and the way the meals is raised,” Socha mentioned.