Ingredient traceability has grown in popularity amongst beauty and wellness brands. Now, what began as sourcing and traceability for ingredients is moving into food and nutritional packaging, offering consumers clearer transparency of a product’s ingredients, ethical sourcing, and environmental impact.
The Biden administration proposed relocating nutrition labels to the front of food packaging in September. The updated food packaging requirements will be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration with a standardized labeling system. The administration’s goal in instituting this new system is "to help consumers, particularly those with lower nutrition literacy, quickly and easily identify foods that are part of a healthy eating pattern," according to statement in a White House strategy report.
The United States Treasury Department discussed requiring wine, beer, and liquor brands to provide full ingredient labels and calorie indications on their bottles and products. Consumer advocacy groups including the Consumer Federation of America sued the Treasury Department earlier this year, pushing for transparency in the industry. The Treasury department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau could release guidelines and specifications for disclosing allergens and ingredients as early as this year.
Ritual vitamins is taking transparent formulations one step further, offering traceable ingredients in September. The new initiative, called Made Traceable, tracks a single nutrient from Ritual vitamin products directly from its source. Lindsay Dahl, chief impact officer at Ritual, said that “Transparency is great and something that consumers want. But traceability is more than that. We think of traceability as transparency with receipts.”
In October, Fresh Del Monte Produce invested in a traceability technology company for food safety. Decapolis, a provider of traceability technology to support food safety, will help the fruit giant to launch the Decapolis Food Guard: a blockchain-based solution that will record logistics and assessments from farming to distribution of its products.
Brands are wedged between consumer demand and legislative pressure to improve ingredient transparency. Traceability might be the solution the food and drug industries require to survive.