The desire for greater transparency in the farm to fork supply chain is largely driven by retailer’s who are committed to providing consumers with reasonably priced food, that is produced to a high health and welfare standard.
Most retailers have worked closely with their aligned producers to increase visibility throughout the supply chain. However, to be able to cement this and build consumer trust, providing accurate evidence is key.
With customer demands increasing, it’s important to showcase the high animal health and welfare standards UK producers are adhering to, to enhance consumer confidence, while also meeting supply and demand. But what role can technology play to help overcome these issues?
Improving the product recall process
Product recalls are often problematic for retailers and processors with tracking the source of the product historically being time consuming and challenging, and while this process is continually improving, moving to a more integrated data collection system, could make this process even simpler.
Monitoring technology in poultry houses allows for real-time, accurate data collection that has the potential to generate immutable records that could form part of a IoT network within the supply chain. Having a secure IoT system in place could create accountability and improve traceability within the food production journey.
In the broiler industry, the effect of having an established blockchain network in place would help support the identification of diseases such as salmonella, making product recall emergencies a much smoother process.
Improving relationships with suppliers
Similarly, having a live feed of real-time data that can be translated up and down the supply chain can allow retailers to build a closer relationship with their suppliers and gain greater insight into a producer’s compliance with farming standards and regulations.
Retailers often face the brunt of negative feedback in terms of issues with food quality, so having the technology in place to allow producers to identify issues in the poultry house as early as possible should reduce the occurrence of issues later down the line. This should in turn help improve the overall quality of supply.
Improving consumer trust
Consumers are taking an increasing interest in animal welfare, but the demand for a low price on the supermarket shelf and high standards within the shed can mean that issues with bird health can sometimes be dismissed without investigating the root cause of the problem.
Disease or lameness in small numbers can be easily overlooked by producers, but overtime how much of an impact is this having on efficiency and productivity further up the supply chain?
Overlooking even a small number of illnesses among a flock can be detrimental and therefore shouldn’t go undetected. By overlooking the issue, there is nothing being done to stop it repeating itself in subsequent flocks. Making use of technology on-farm can allow for data driven improvements to be made that should help to support bird performance. This should be an attractive proposal for retailers looking to guarantee to their consumers that they are doing all they can to maximise the bird’s quality of life.
SenseHub™ Poultry sensors are already monitoring parameters that are set out by the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC), the leading set of standards for broiler welfare in the UK. Parameters such as light availability and air quality are just some of the requirements suppliers will need to follow. Retailers committing to the BCC will need to be able to demonstrate compliance with these standards, which is where the implementation of on-farm technology that can capture real-time data will be hugely beneficial for improving not only bird welfare, but also consumer trust.
As a whole, there remains a lot of space for human error in the food supply chain, but with advancements in the technology available and the demand for high animal welfare being the ‘norm’ in the UK, the industry is heading in a positive direction in terms of improving overall transparency.
To find out more about SenseHub™ Poultry and the transformative technology that is being deployed on poultry farms across the UK, visit https://merck.sensehubpoultry.com.