Canaan Bridges Consulting Inc.
More and more consumers are concerned about where their food comes from, how it is made, and whether it is sustainably produced. Global food supply chains present both challenges and opportunities for producers and innovators. Successfully linking food production to its origin creates sustainable futures in global food trades. It is sometimes easy for the main attributes that connect food with its origin to be lost along value chains. This is especially challenging when several production and distribution channels are involved in getting foods to consumer markets. Origin is important in food supply chains when the reputation, quality or characteristics of the food – in terms of what makes the food liked or preferred in consumer markets – is attributable to where the product comes from.
Making Origin Count: Some food ingredients come from far away regions or countries. Spices, for instance, may be sourced from the Indo-Pacific or Caribbean regions and used in food along with other ingredients. Coffee beans sourced from world-renown farms known for the quality of their output is another example of how origin can impact food branding. When the end product derives most of its distinctiveness or popularity from place-based food ingredients sourced from other countries, using a branding strategy that augments these connections can have beneficial impacts on the businesses and communities from which the core ingredients are sourced. This of course depend on at least three factors:
- Distributor and Manufacturers Interests: Many consumers make food selections (affordability permitting) based on the type of information that is provided about how and where their food is sourced from. If this information is worthwhile but missing from the distributor or manufacturer’s marketing strategy, there could be significantly less chances for origin-based factors to drive higher consumer demand patterns. This can influence how much revenue the product generates and ultimately, the level of interest distributors and manufacturers have in pursuing long term sourcing from markets that are far away (especially if preferential tariffs do not apply to these imports). Distributors may also have no interest in marketing imported foods based on origin, unless there is or likely to be strong consumer interest in the commodity because of its origin.
- Sustainability Factors: A crucial issue is whether the origin-country’s food system promote the socioeconomic interests for farmers and producers involved in farming and producing food. It is often challenging for small scale farmers and producers to earn a decent living from what they do. Environmental challenges, lack of financial and human capital to invest or re-invest in their business, lack of lucrative markets to sell their produce and mental health challenges are constraints that can impact how sustainable food production can be. These constraints then, also impact whether significant steps are taken by farmers and producers to brand their foods based on origin. It may even be of little concern or out of budget reach.
- Origin Distributors- Market Savvy and Globally Conscious: A few considerations include: how well origin producers know the cultural, traditional, and/or scientific significance of their food or agricultural product, whether these attributes (if present) are integrated in their quality standards and procedures; the number of key stakeholders involved in food production and distribution and their expertise in the field, and if management have a solid blue-print for marketing and sustaining the food-origin connection in foreign markets.
Read the Food and Supply Chain Issue of Canaan Bridges Monthly
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