Barilla Shows Consumers the Journey of Their Food

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Barilla Shows Consumers the Journey of Their Food

By Jamie Grill-Goodman - 10/05/2015
As consumers clamor for more transparency in their food, Barilla Group, the makers of Barilla brand pastas and sauces, is embracing the Internet of Everything to provide consumers the ability to see the entire chain of production for the ingredients in limited-edition pasta and sauce, from where it was grown to how it arrived on the store shelf.
 
Founded in Parma, Italy, in 1877, Barilla is one of the main Italian food groups today and owns 30 production sites and exports to more than 100 countries.
 
For this project, Barilla worked with Cisco, Penelope S.p.A. and NTT DATA to implement a new technology platform called Safety for Food (S4F). Powered by the software ValueGo, the platform enables consumers to scan a QR code on the back of limited edition Farfalle Pasta and Tomato and Basil Sauce packages to easily access a website that tells the story of the specific production batch, through a detailed analysis of all major phases of the supply chain. 
 
"This kind of project is a balance between the scientific approach and the marketing approach," explained Andrea Belli, Technical Project Leader, Barilla Quality and Food Safety.
 
ValueGo, developed by Penelope S.p.A, is the core system of the Safety for Food project, with specific agri-food vertical features for compliance checking, tracking and tracing of all food information along the entire supply chain and for building a ‘digital passport’ for food products. The Safety for Food initiative aims to provide a global database of food products and greater traceability of agricultural food production, according to international standards on food safety, quality and origin of raw materials.
 
By scanning the QR code on the back of the Barilla packages, consumers can follow the path of the pasta they will eat from the ground to the grocer.  For example, consumers can follow the package from the durum wheat field to learn where and how it was cultivated and harvested to the packaging and labeling of the finished product. The integrated tracking system helps to combat counterfeiting in the food supply chain and gives consumers greater transparency and traceability of their food. According to Belli, the information is already available, but with this project they selected a few products for the consumer to see the story of.  

"We selected five percent of the global data, not more," said Belli.
Shoppers can find the limited edition Barilla pasta and sauce packages at the Coop Supermarket of the Future, part of the Future Food District at EXPO 2015 in Milan. 
 
“Through this innovative initiative, we aim to not only provide greater transparency and safety in the supply chain, but to also give consumers a greater connection to their food,” said Giorgio Beltrami, Quality, Food Safety and Regulatory Global Director of Barilla. “By following the story of the specific batch of Barilla pasta or sauce they are enjoying, consumers can better correlate the food with the culture of the area in which it was born. As a family-owned company making quality Italian food for almost 140 years, it fills us with great pride to share that culture with our customers.”
 
We are not speaking about the product, we are speaking about what you are eating at the moment, that specific consumer unit you have in your hand, explained Belli.

Cisco has collaborated with non-governmental organizations, technology partners and experts in food supply chains to create the Safety for Food initiative, which provides access to data from across the entire agricultural food chain. Innovative food companies like Barilla are taking the lead to use the data and analytics to break through information silos across their supply chains and provide consumers with greater transparency into the sources of their food.

By simplifying the process of accessing real-time supply chain information, ValueGo allows consumers, by reading a smart label, to know the full history of the products they purchase. With the help of ValueGo, Barilla is able to create a true ‘digital identity card’ to identify and track the specific production lots of two widely-used consumer products.

The Safety for Food platform implemented by Barilla is a clear example of how the Internet of Everything has moved from vision to reality. By connecting people, places, processes, data and things, innovative companies are using new digital technologies to manage complex industrial processes and improve consumers’ lives.