New Food Magazine has featured an article on a new food labelling app, called FollowThisfood. This app allows you to scan a food label and find out exactly where the food has come from.
It should be noted that the original article was written by Martin Coates, CEO of Agrantec, which is the company who developed and sell the FollowThisfood label app so clearly the article promotes the use of this labelling system.
Having said that, consumer concern over misleading information on food labels is growing as evidenced by the number of articles appearing in the media on this topic. In previous newsletters, we reproduced articles on this topic. Read the article by Ross Golden-Bannon and an article by Aoife McElwain in the Irish Times here
Coates argues that food producers who use natural ingredients and clean processing methods can gain a competitive advantage through the use of the FollowThisFood app as it will allow them to show their consumers in detail how pure their product is. He uses the term “active” to describe this type of food label and “passive” to describe the everyday food label. He states “When food fraud is so rife, it’s probably time to ditch old-fashioned passive labelling altogether and move to a more modern approach using a new system called active labelling.
Active labelling literally follows the food from farm to fork at every step of its life.
An active label would allow shoppers to know if their produce had been subjected to any weird processing techniques”
Coates then goes on to list some of the “weird” food processing methods or ingredients that can be hidden in the ingredients list of “passive” food label, including meat gluing, wood pulping, air whipping and also a product that is being developed called “faux meat”
He acknowledges that while these practices and ingredients are deemed as safe, he is of the opinion that most consumers would prefer if their food didn’t contain such ingredients or were subject to such practices.
He explains the FollowThisFood labels as follows “allows you to trace a product all the way back through the production chain to the farm and farmer by scanning the item with your smartphone directly on the supermarket shelf.
Instantly you can see the entire life cycle of that individual package directly in the palm of your hand. You can find out where and when it was produced, the name of the farm and farmer, even the storage temperatures en route to the shop.” Case studies of food companies that have used the FollowThisFood app are available on their website. These case studies can be downloaded their website here.