A SUPPLY chain expert has urged the Australian fresh produce industry to get behind a common data standard in order to make the most of blockchain potential.
GS1 Australia account director, Andrew Steele boasts more than 25 years' experience in fast moving consumer goods and the food retail sector.
Mr Steele presented at Hort Connections 2019 in Melbourne where he spoke on blockchain and traceability solutions in the horticulture sector:
- Can blockchain open up global agricultural markets?
- Manbullo Ltd trials mango tray sensors to build blockchain data
- Blockchain solutions to insolvency woes
He said some significant changes were coming regarding barcodes and labelling.
Mr Steele said items like apples, oranges, stonefruit, mangoes have traditionally had a global price look-up (PLU) number but it didn't give you any link back to where the product came from.
New labelling technology, such as 1D barcodes or in the future, 2D barcodes, will add more information to each scan, with the potential to include data on variety, point of origin, grower, location, harvest date and other points which could help with traceability and reducing waste.
Mr Steele currently leads the supply chain integrity team at GS1 Australia, which is responsible for developing insightful initiatives to ensure the highest level of efficiency, safety, traceability and best practice in the Australian food and beverage and retail sector.
He is also an active member of a number of industry working groups in the retail grocery, liquor, meat and fresh produce sectors.
Most recently, Mr Steele has been involved in helping Woolworths implement a new trial of 2D embedded barcodes.
Woolworths is set to become the first Australian supermarket to trial data embedded (or 2D) barcodes in stores from August.
In collaboration with Woolworths, Hilton Foods and Ingham's will start placing 2D barcodes on fresh meat and poultry products sold via Woolworths supermarkets nationally.
GS1 Australia has been assisting Woolworths with its trial.
GS1 Australia currently serves 22 industry sectors and supports around 20,000 business members nationally.