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Almond production: boosting traceability through innovation

Posted: 2 September 2022 | | No comments yet

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of their food’s field-to-fork journey, David Carvalho, CEO of Veracruz Almonds, explains how the latest agritech innovations can help boost traceability and transparency of the whole food production process.

There has been a significant movement in responsible food production in recent years, driven by the demand from consumers to understand where their food has come from.
Traceability is in increasing demand, and the pressure lies with the farmers to ensure they have the data to back this up. It has never been more important for food and drink manufacturers to provide retailers, suppliers and end-consumers with full sight of the end-to-end production process, giving them reassurance that their product has been produced in the most safe and ethical way.

Boosting traceability

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines traceability as the ‘ability to follow movement of food through specific stages of production, processing and distribution’. To achieve this, farmers need to collect a series of data that tells the complete story of that product as it goes through the supply chain.
Traceability requires in-depth tracking of detailed information about a range of points, including product freshness, food safety and carbon footprint.

Data-driven farming

Agriculture has come a long way. Technology has revolutionised the way we operate as modern farmers. Today, technology such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning all play a crucial role in smart farming. Maximising these digital innovations within the value chain offers unprecedented new opportunities for smart food traceability, transparency and safety.

Blockchain offers unprecedented new opportunities for smart food traceability, transparency and safety. It is a vital tool in boosting traceability, as it allows each product’s journey from farm to fork to be traced with time-stamped information. The technology, which collates interlinked data on vital factors – from sowing seeds and harvesting, to processing and distribution – enables farmers to monitor the entire lifecycle of their production process and gives the producer, industry, distribution and the consumer access to reliable information about every step of the food’s journey.

Blockchain then stores this data in a secure way, which cannot be changed or falsified. This information can then be shared with everyone in the supply chain, from distributors and retailers to end consumers. When the product reaches the end user, all this information on the food’s journey can be accessed via smart labelling technologies, such as QR codes.

Gathering such detailed information is a key pillar of precision farming, so adopting a blockchain-based supply chain will not only boost food safety and transparency, but it will also create benefits for everyone involved in the food supply chain.

In 2020, we began recording all our data: consumption, trees, water, weather, batches and harvests, among other indicators. This means that all the almonds that grow in our orchards will be fully traced, whether they’re blanched, in matchsticks, or turned into flour.

Our aim is for the consumer to be able to read a QR code on the packaging and access a website with the record of the food that’s on their plate. Every player in this extensive and complex chain will know the path our almonds take.

The future

If we are to meet consumer demand for ethical and safe produce, we must invest in the technology that enables us to share the entire food production journey with everyone involved in the supply chain.

Today, agriculture is increasingly driven by data, and as the technology continues to improve, we will have even more opportunity to showcase our production processes, tell the story of our produce, and engage with our consumers on a whole new level.

Over the next five years we plan to invest over €6 million in innovative tech, enabling us to use our resources even more effectively, whilst drastically reducing waste and boosting traceability.

About the author
David Carvalho is a Founder and the CEO of Veracruz Almonds. He is a tech enthusiast and has brought that background to agriculture to create a company that is big on smart farming, using innovative tools in food production to ensure efficient and sustainable production, and the high quality of the Mediterranean almonds.  

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