Produce Suppliers Embrace Adoption of Electronic Traceability

May 7, 2012
The produce industry hopes to achieve supply chain-wide adoption of traceability of every case of produce by the end of 2012.

A recent survey to measures the produce industry’s adoption of the seven Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) milestones indicates companies are making widespread progress. The PTI was launched in 2008 as a voluntary initiative to achieve supply chain-wide adoption of electronic traceability of every case of produce by the end of 2012.

A diverse group of 228 companies representing all produce industry sectors and a broad array of sizes participated in the survey, led by four categories: growers, packers/repackers, shippers and distributors. Demand-side respondents, comprising distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, and wholesalers or terminal markets, constituted 23% of the respondents. The survey was open to all produce companies, regardless of whether they have been active in PTI activities.

About 84% of responding suppliers say they are communicating GS1 Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to receivers, while 77% of all brand owners say that they have assigned GTINs to some or all of their produce cases.

Meanwhile, 88% of receivers report they are receiving cases with incoming GTINs, and 75% of receivers report they are reading or planning on reading data on some or all inbound cases. Receivers lag suppliers on implementations, but are making headway, with 43% of receivers reporting they are totally or partially equipped for reading inbound PTI-recommended data, and 40% of receivers storing all or some data on inbound cases.

“We've made great progress with this initiative, especially among suppliers who are leading the way with traceability implementation,” says Cathy Green Burns, co-chair of the PTI Leadership Council and president of Food Lion. “Based on the survey results, we plan to redouble our efforts to engage buyers to complete our vision of whole-chain traceability."

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