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The same product item number that is required by wholesale buyers for traceability or food safety, can also provide marketing benefit for a product by connecting consumers with producers through social media. This direct connection enables disruptive technologies such as the barcode scanning app ShopSavvy to pass through proprietary data silos, and re-establish data connections later in the supply chain. This is how a consumer and a producer can both check retail pricing using ShopSavvy.
This “interoperability” between data systems is the key to hacking the food system, since GS1 standard data formats are used between proprietary systems where agricultural products are marketed. This does not require adding a second barcode, like a QR code, to the product packaging.
Top 10 Produce LLC launched our brand “Top 10” in 2009, to test a theory that we could create brand value by assigning the same 14 digit product number to a single person (the farmer), place (the farm), and thing (the product). This allowed the product to be 100% traceable from farm to consumer, and provided this data to the consumer at the point of sale.
We investigated this theory using a USDA funded SBIR grant and concluded that consumers were willing to pay a price premium as high as 30% for source identified produce grown by an independent local grower, as compared for identical produce from that same grower available in the same store. We later developed this idea in 2010 to allow for interoperability to link independent databases to a single produce code.
For example, if you scan the attached Locale brand label with ShopSavvy, you should see a map of the farm, and learn more about the grower who grew the strawberries that carried this label. You can also link to websites where you can learn about the Salinas Valley Rodeo, the National Steinbeck Center, or you can see Youtube video about the Locale. The idea behind this place-specific data augmented branding is that certain products, like Salinas Valley Strawberries, or Locale Chesapeake grassfed beef, have regionally specific characteristics that are highly valued.
John Bailey is an attorney advocate for a national network of independent farms. In 2009, Bailey founded Top 10 Produce LLC to serves as a brand holding company for three transparent brands: Top 10, Locale, and Grower’s Reserve. Each of these three brands gives producers access to their own supply chain data, with the help of disruptive technologies partners like ShopSavvy, Inc., so that producers are able to communicate directly with consumers.