The missing link

Food provenance business Happerley’s plans to create an epicentre of food transparency in England has been a long time coming.

People want to know what they eat, where it comes from, how it was made. Transparency is the name of the game now and has become a basic consumer expectation. Transparency has also driven product reformulations, moved producers to utilise more sustainable practices and enables disruptors to enter the food fray.

Happerley England gives farmers, suppliers and producers a platform to champion their Gold Standard produce.

This marque is accorded only to food and drink producers able to name the exact sources of their core ingredients back to the primary producers.

Blockchain technology is behind the passport of foodstuffs from birth or seed, through manufacturing processes, to consumer-facing traceability on shelves and on packaging.

The reasoning is simple.

These days, those businesses that choose to ignore transparency risk losing customer loyalty and trust. Consumers are not just interested in beneficial claims. They want to know the good, the bad and the ugly on everything from policies to ingredients.

Shoppers’ demand for transparency is fanned by a constant stream of information, which has changed the way food products are marketed, particularly given the weight of social media, influencers etc. It’s no secret that being transparent about all elements of a business is in the public’s interest.

Matthew Rymer, founder and director of Happerley and a campaigner for greater food transparency, sums up the development as a “legacy project” for the whole food industry.

He adds, “The UK can seize the moment to really establish itself as a world leader in food transparency. The opportunity is enormous. Happerley is a unique hybrid of technology and soul that has gained credibility from farmer up. This is a relatively low risk investment for possible high return. We know what needs to be done, we know how to do it; we know it is wanted, and we know we have the right people in place.”

The blockchain element is significant. But, as with most things, it begs the question of cost and will consumers pay more for food authenticity?

Regardless, out of necessity for the food industry transparency is not going away. Consumers know there are measures that can be taken, so the pressure is on, and the food sector knows it.

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