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Stimulating Innovation in the Agri-Food Sector

Supporting Agri-Food Businesses Across Yorkshire

The Importance of Food Provenance 12/06/2018


How important is food provenance?

Do consumers care where their food comes from or how it was made?

Should we be exploring the use of Augmented and Virtual Reality to tell our business story?


What is food provenance and should it matter to you?

Food provenance is about knowing where your food comes from and how it is made. The reality is, that people are now far more conscious about where their food comes from, with the origin of food being the second most important piece of information to a consumer, after sell by dates.

Large chain supermarkets have picked up on provenance trends and tried to join in by promising certain products to be of British origin. However, many have been exposed for creating fictional farm names supplying their fruit and veg, when actually the products were coming from overseas. The truth is, that supermarkets can’t keep up with selling such high quality produce at low prices.

The good news however, is that this is where the small food and drink businesses come in. Fresh, high-quality, ethical food and drink, with transparent supply chains takes time to produce and this is exactly what small businesses value most.

How does Augmented and Virtual Reality come into this?

Augmented and Virtual Reality is an interactive technology that overlays digital information on our physical world and has the ability to alter our perceptions.

Augmented Reality simply adds layers of information to the real world environment. Ikea are a great example of this, as they allow you to browse their Catalogue and place let’s say, a lamp in your living room to see how it works with the room.

Virtual Reality completely replaces the real world environment with a simulated one, i.e. blocking out the room we are in and making us feel we are in another. So think a pair of goggles that make you feel you’re in the sky, piloting a plane.

The use of Augmented and Virtual Reality is in its infancy in the food and drink industries, but could play a major role in describing provenance and enhancing the consumption experience. The industry is picking up on the fact that more and more people are now looking past the product itself, and focusing on the origins of the product and the story of the business.

Staying loyal to trusted brands has become a vital factor, particularly for young people. As has finding experiences that are not only new and unique but also boost their social standing. The use of AR/VR comes into play here fantastically. Businesses can describe their provenance, as well as activating all senses and putting consumers right in the heart of the eating and drinking experience, to fully get their message across. This is not only useful for getting to know a company, but also for educating consumers on ingredients and nutritional benefits.



So, what does this mean for a small food/drink business?

The new trends and improvements in technology mean that these new methods of reaching consumers are on the rise and will be difficult to avoid. It will soon be a very simple process to be able to track down the origin and ingredients of a product. Businesses who don’t engage in some way, run the risk of being left behind.

Exploring the senses, learning the story of a business and the origins of the product only enhances the consumer experience. These factors will start to play a major role in consumer buying choices. This puts small food and drink businesses at a fantastic advantage, as they usually have an engaging story to tell. It also means that it’s really important to think about the origins of your food and drink ingredients and how they reflect your business values.

There are some great resources that are there to help small food and drink businesses. Companies such as Big Barn and want to support food and drink businesses that have traceable origins and transparent supply chains. Their aim is to reverse the growing mass production of untraceable food.


How important is provenance to you?! Please let us know! We’d love to hear your views on the subject and any other opinions you have on what it may mean for your business. 

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