Traceability in 2022: Plate Back To Paddock

Oct 07, 2022 by Mark Dingley

Serialisation is a great traceability tool. Is it right for your business?


Do you know where your eggs come from? More than 2 in 3 Australians (69.1%) say they prefer to buy eggs from retailers that require eggs to be traceable back to the farm.

In the same survey, two-thirds of respondents indicated they were concerned about Australia’s food security, and 86.8% agree that traceability is important in ensuring food safety.

The bottom line?

Consumers want traceability more than ever.

Head of Industry Solutions Woolworths Group Noelene De Villiers said, “The pandemic has only increased consumer interest in having greater visibility over where their food originates and how it’s grown.”

As always, when consumers want something, the technology isn’t far behind.

The global food-traceability market size reached USD$4.54 billion in 2020, with a third of that accounted for by the Asia Pacific region. The market is expected to rise to $9.75 billion by 2028, according to the latest analysis by Emergen Research.

In this article, we dive into some of the latest technology and initiatives for traceability in 2022.

First, let’s go back to basics.


What is traceability?

This definition by Deakin University sums it up nicely:

“Food traceability is the systematic ability to access relevant information about a food product, throughout its entire life cycle and along the whole supply chain, by means of recorded identifications.

“Food traceability is important not only for business risk mitigation, but also for reasons of public safety, product integrity, supply chain efficiency and market access.”

But importantly, as Future Traceability for Agricultural Trade Principal Director Joanna Bunting explains: “Traceability is not just about the origin of the product but what happens to the product as it moves through the chain.”

That’s where the complexities come in.

One of the major challenges associated with food-traceability systems is the time and effort required to properly trace food products and ingredients. While accurate and timely traceability systems are important, cost has traditionally been a barrier for smaller businesses.

In 2022, thanks to new technologies, that’s beginning to change.

The business value of traceability

The importance of traceability in your supply chain is well documented – from improving food safety to protecting your brand from reputation damage.

The increasing importance being placed on provenance and credentials from consumers means there are advantages for your bottom line too.

Consumers are willing to pay for traceability. For example, research indicates certified “grass-fed beef” could gain an additional $1 per kilogram in the US market.

At the 2022 Traceability Summit, the Australian Government reported that by streamlining traceability regulations, there’s potential to deliver an industry-wide economic projected benefit of $108 million to $197 million a year.

It’s no wonder that the Government is investing $68.4 million into Australia’s agricultural traceability systems by developing a national agricultural traceability hub for industry groups, research bodies, state and territory bodies and government to collaboratively develop and drive successful traceability initiatives.

The Government is also funding agricultural traceability grants. Two grant rounds have provided 30 successful applications access to $7 million over four years.


The State of Traceability in 2022

Let’s delve into some of the many initiatives and technologies promoting traceability in Australia in 2022:

LaavaID Smart Fingerprint technology

Locally developed in collaboration with CSIRO, the Laava Smart Fingerprint is a new generation of on-product secure marking technology.

The Fingerprint is unique to each item and can be scanned by any smartphone so consumers can immediately verify the product is genuine and then engage in a seamless brand experience.

Unlike most QR and NFC codes, it doesn’t require “local authorisation”, where the phone hardware executes a link to a remote website. Instead, Laava uses remote authorisation, which means it is first cryptographically matched on the Laava platform, then checks business rules before releasing content to the end user.

The technology has already been proven in the toughest markets in the world. In 2020, Tassie premium cherries brand, Reid Fruits moved to Laava Smart Fingerprints from QR codes, which were “clickjacked” by counterfeiters in 2019.

The Laava platform automatically shut down eight suspected counterfeit attempts in the first week, and only another two attempts occurred the rest of the season.

To make it accessible to manufacturers, Laava is easy to integrate with leading traceability, tracking and supply chain coding platforms such as Matthews iDSnet.


FreshChain and Matthews

FreshChain Systems is a blockchain-enabled, paddock-to-plate assurance system that enables end-to-end fresh food traceability from farm to fork, and delivers rich data insights.

In 2022, Matthews Australasia announced a new strategic partnership with FreshChain Systems, which combines the strength of Matthews’ best-in-class on-demand printing and labelling solutions with FreshChain’s digital end-to-end fresh food traceability and provenance platform.


This means producers can seamlessly link critical data through the supply chain and provide consumers full assurance around product authenticity, freshness and provenance. Back-and-forth traceability can be done in just minutes with supply-chain partner involvement, reducing the risk and impact of a recall.

It also provides brand owners with the opportunity to connect the physical packaging to the digital mobile world that consumers are now expecting. This means producers can connect with consumers, and collect direct feedback on product attributes and environmental credentials.

2D Barcode Learning Centre

So, how does it work?

  1. FreshChain supplies serialised and encrypted codes for Matthews to convert to a unique QR code embedded with GS1 Digital Link URL using its printing and labelling technologies.
  2. The codes can be linked to all levels of packaging, from consumer units to pallets, using 2D barcoding for track-and-trace.
  3. Consumers use their smartphone to scan the QR code with GS1 Digital Link to access product information on the FreshChain platform, such as its journey, attributes, and sustainability credentials.
  4. The brand owner can choose to give multiple supply chain partners access, such as retailers, carriers or government agencies, who can then support a critical food incident.
  5. The business gets a wealth of rich data both upstream and downstream, including the freshness index, chain-of-custody metrics, consumer ratings, global scan locations, and varietal quality metrics based on location, time of year, growing methods and carriers.

Deakin University’s Food Traceability Lab

Deakin University has implemented a food-traceability program in connection with its Food Traceability Lab.

The program aims to provide industry guidance and support for achieving end-to-end traceability of food products. This is so manufacturers and producers can deliver assurance to consumers, while also reducing the time and cost to achieve visibility along the product’s journey.

The Lab has four priorities for 2020-25:


Remember how much consumers want to know where their eggs come from? This insight has led to the launch of EggTrace, a simple, browser-based traceability tool that has been built for egg farms.

EggTrace enables every farm to capture traceability information digitally and store all important traceability records in one place. So, in the event of a recall or food safety issue, EggTrace provides the transparency required to act quickly.



This is only the beginning

There are many more traceability innovations out there, all of which are designed to achieve the same goal: make the food-supply chains safer. It’s never been easier for manufacturers and producers to improve traceability for their food products, while also reaping the rewards of more consumer trust.

Talk to our team to find out how we can help you with your traceability goals.