Covid has put food safety and the issues of our food supply chain at the center of many consumers’ minds. As companies come to terms with the financial woes of the pandemic, some agrifood tech startups are actually well-poised to offer solutions.
“Generally, the public hasn’t considered the impact of a pandemic on the value chain. As we see things get really bad in North America people are starting to ask ‘how do I know who touched my food?’” Erik Westblom, co-founder and CEO of West Canada-based food safety data startup Provision Analytics.
The startup has just secured $3.2 million in private equity and grant funding to develop its own digital tool for food safety and traceability. They offer a custom form builder than can drag and drop new data such as workers temperatures and symptoms on the way in and out of the building so they can know who touched what. They are turning food safety into business intelligence. This software platform is called OneTrace and its mission is to modernize the more traditional ways that data are collected in the food supply chain. It processes the food data it receives through a graph database and uses machine learning to create advanced reports and traceability for the food industry.
“We applied graph theory to food safety data capture to create a mechanism around correlating the data attributes that are collected. The long-term data vision of the company is to drive the ability to gain more insight around risks associated with different food categories like tomatoes, meat, and grains. How do they correlate and impact each other? We think there is a significant upside for the insurance and financial markets.”
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“Generally, if you say traceability. people think about the story of a product getting to a consumer, who was the person who grew it and why that farmer is great. But that doesn’t necessarily drive any value beyond high-level marketing. The real driver for traceability is taking data and correlating it.”
Traceability has become increasingly important for consumers who want to know as much as possible about the food they eat. And this demand has led to a number of companies launching solutions that offer this level of transparency.