All Articles Food Tracking and communication are key to transparency in the meat case


Tracking and communication are key to transparency in the meat case

Consumers are calling for a higher level of transparency from food brands, and traceability in the meat department is especially key as demand rises for responsibly raised, minimally processed meats.

3 min read


Tracking and communication are key to transparency in the meat case

Image: Getty Images

This post is sponsored by Tyson Fresh Meats.

Product information — or a lack thereof — is becoming an increasingly important factor in the fight for brand loyalty. Consumer demand for traceability is on the rise, including in the meat case as shoppers look for more information about where and how their meat was produced.

In fact, more than half of consumers say understanding where the food they purchase is from and how it’s produced is key, according to the International Food Information Council’s 2018 Food & Health Study. Three-quarters of shoppers said they were more likely to switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information beyond what is provided on the label, according to a report from the Food Marketing Institute in partnership with Label Insight, Chicago. That figure is a significant increase from 2016, when 39% of shoppers said they would switch brands when asked the same question.

Transparency in the meat supply chain is especially important because of the many elements involved in bringing meat products to market. Consumers want to know where livestock were raised, what they were fed and how they were treated. Being able to track a meat product from the store all the way back to its origin reassures consumers that it was produced in a way they can feel good about.

Offering such a high level of assurance to consumers is the driving force behind Open Prairie Natural* Meats’ Openness Promise.

“Simply put, being open means continually working to enhance communications and transparency with all of our partners, from the independent ranchers and farmers who supply our cattle and hogs, to the customers who purchase our products,” Tyson Fresh Meats writes on its website.

The Never Ever meat brand is traceable back to its origin through strict specifications, including maintained records, unique identification, DNA TraceBack technology and third-party verification.

“To reach consumers and their need for more transparency, we list our Never Ever production claims on the package, calling out that animals raised for the Open Prairie Natural Meats program have never been given antibiotics, added hormones or growth promotants**,” said Kent Harrison, vice president of marketing and premium programs at Tyson Fresh Meats.

The brand’s animal well-being practices are third-party verified by Where Food Comes From and “our animal well-being mark is USDA approved and visible to both our customers and our consumers so they can be assured they are purchasing product that was responsibly raised,” he said.

To further its traceability efforts, Tyson Fresh Meats has partnered with IdentiGEN to provide DNA traceable beef, the company announced earlier this year.

“Through DNA TraceBack, we’re providing our retail and foodservice customers with scientific evidence that they’re getting high quality, natural beef from animals raised the way we promised,” Harrison said.

As the cost of DNA sampling goes down, the technology may have more consumer applications, Harrison told Bloomberg. For the Open Prairie brand, DNA could offer the level of comprehensive traceability that today’s consumers demand.

*Minimally processed. No artificial ingredients.

**Federal regulations prohibit the use of added hormones or growth promotants in pork.

DNA TraceBack is a registered trademark of IdentiGEN North America, Inc.


If you enjoyed this article, sign up for FMI dailyLead to get news like this in your inbox, or check out all of SmartBrief’s food and travel newsletters, as we offer more than 30 newsletters covering the food and travel industries from restaurants, food retail and food manufacturing to business travel, the airline and hotel industries and gaming.