Aussie Poultry Producer Introduces Labelling That Tracks Food From Paddock To Plate

It's all about transparency.
Lilydale farmer Peter hails from Mangrove Mountain in New South Wales.
Lilydale farmer Peter hails from Mangrove Mountain in New South Wales.

When it comes to the products we consume, more Australians are increasingly calling for traceability and transparency through labelling.

93 percent of consumers believe all food should have clear labelling detailing where their food was sourced, according to research commissioned by popular free-range chicken company, Lilydale.

"We are seeing this resurgence back to better knowing what we are consuming and there is a growing need from Australians to be able to trace their food," Lilydale Senior Brand Manager Anna Wesser told The Huffington Post Australia.

"And for us, that comes down to quality. We're proud of our home-grown produce, so we wanted that to be transparent for our customers."

The Australian-owned and operated company has introduced a new labelling system that enables consumers to trace each pack of free-range chicken back to the farm from where it came.

"Every farm that our chickens have been grown on from has a unique farm code. Every pack of Lilydale free-range chicken now has a secondary label that features this code and a picture of the farmer," Wesser explains.

"The joy is in discovering these individual stories of our farmers and sharing these with Australian consumers."

Consumers can log on to the Lilydale website, enter in their 'farm code' to peruse through information about the farmer and their background as well as details and footage of their property.

It's a trend that has infiltrated the fruit and vegetable aisle of Australian supermarkets but Lilydale is the first to introduce the labelling system in the meat and poultry industry.

The company has recently come under fire following reports that its produce was free-range but not organic. Lilydale confirmed in February that whilst its birds are reared in low-density, open-access barns, they are fed genetically modified grains and legumes.

It is just about making it available for those who want to know more to find out that information for themselves.

According to Wesser, the trend towards traceability is aided by advancements in technology.

"People can now find out more information and they are choosing to do that. I think that's what is part of this driving demand," she said.

"It is just about making it available for those who want to know more to find out that information for themselves."

The move comes as Australia looks towards new country of origin food labelling laws that are set to come into effect on July 1.

The new labels will indicate if food is grown or made in Australia as well as proportion of Australian ingredients.

According to the 'Food Traceability' study, 96 percent of surveyed consumers look for food sourced from within Australia. 70 percent are concerned about the risk of disease being imported from overseas food products and 81 percent are worried about lower standards and regulations on imported food.

And the trend towards transparency extends beyond the food market. Consumer brands and enterprises are adopting similar tracking technologies to better inform customers of their purchases -- and their impact.

Social enterprise 'Thankyou' is a flourishing Australian brand that sells both food and body products across supermarkets. Each product is fitted with a digital ID that allows buyers to track their global impact.

The enterprise works under a share-holder free models that sees 100 percent of its profits given to water, food and health charity projects world wide.