By Shane Frederick
Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance
If you’ve heard the term “farm to table” or maybe even “farm to fork,” you know that it’s likely guided many people in their decision-making when it comes to making food choices.
Consider reversing that notion. Trace it back.
“Fork to farm.”
As more and more consumers want to know where their food and the ingredients in their food are coming from – how they got to market, where they were processed, where they were grown – producers, including food barley growers, are responding to their customers’ demand for traceability.
According to a recent survey by the International Food Information Council, 55% of consumers say knowing where their food comes from is very/somewhat important in their food purchasing decisions, while 42% say understanding how their food is produced is very/somewhat important in those decisions.
Traceability – being able to follow a food’s path back to the farm from any customer in the world – ensures that safe, healthy, high-quality food products have a market. That consistency depends on knowing, with certainty, the source of the ingredients used throughout the process of production, processing, transportation and distribution.
A chief tenet of the growers, producers, processors and shippers of U.S. identity-preserved (IP) products, traceability means suppliers are listening to their customers and meeting their needs. And the conversations taking place throughout the value chain are creating opportunities for growers and in trade.
Food barley buyers, such as those who buy malting barley, depend on IP varieties with specific characteristics. They need to be assured that they’re getting what they ordered and that it’s worth paying a premium for. Because of that, growers and producers are willing to take the extra steps and put in the extra time it takes to segregate specific IP varieties and collect the necessary data, knowing they’ll be earning a premium for their products.
Shane Frederick is the communications manager for Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance. For more information, visit soyagrainsalliance.org.