The Food Trust Programme

Let us help you build trust in your food

The Food Trust Program was conceived with the aim of supporting companies in the agri-food sector in the process of enhancing the distinctive characteristics of their products, following their entire life cycle - from the origin to the consumer's table - without interruption in the supply chain and in the broader perspective of sustainable ESG development - environmental, social and governance.

#PwCforFoodTrust

Food Trust Programme

Build trust in society and solve important problems

PwC's mission is to stand by its customers in order to face the most important challenges together while leaving a tangible footprint on Society.

We have always worked with the best companies, helping them to grow, improving their governance, practices and systems with the aim of increasing the degree of trust they already enjoy.

Trust in the products customers choose to buy, trust in brands and in companies that produce or trade them and – an increasingly remarkable element - trust in the entire value chain in which the manufacturing company operates.

The key principles

In recent years, customer propensity to purchase a food product has undergone a radical change. If the price has long been the main element of competition and an effective discriminant, for some time now there has been a growing attention towards other factors, such as overall quality and – new major entry – sustainability.

Growing attention to such issues ushers into the direct proportionality between trust in the product (or in the brand) and the propensity to purchase it. In addition, this is a topic to which especially younger generations are highly sensitive.

 

consumers prefer sustainability-conscious products/brands

consumers avoid the use of plastic

of consumers pays attention to the origin and transparency of the supply chain

consumer research eco-friendly packaging

Fonte: Rapporto Coop Consumi, Environmental research 2019 by LEXIS

A deep integration of the supply chain allows to consider all issues pertaining to sustainable development in a different and much more effective way. The industry of advertising, of course, immediately noticed this fact, as proven by the increasing number of commercials on food supply chain themes. A further signal and demonstration of changing consumer trends.

But is all this enough? How to make slogans distinct from facts?

End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
AEnsure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all agesssicurare la salute e il benessere per tutti e per tutte le età.
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Reduce inequality within and among countries.
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Goals for sustainable development

The UN 2030 Agenda, signed in 2015 by 193 member countries, defines 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and a total of 169 targets to be pursued in a major programme for Sustainable Development.

In the agri-food sector, the SDGs are expressed in terms of value creation drivers - both material and immaterial - which allow to a clear, precise and complete definition of the added value connected to them.

Cooperation

In situations of increasing complexity of the agri-food supply chains, companies need to adopt a new paradigm of collaboration in order to monitor and control the entire production ecosystem. The knowledge acquired during the production cycle, thanks to the contribution of data and information that each member of the supply chain can offer, follows from the constant enrichment of a shared knowledge base of considerable potential value for all. The possibility of sharing a single source of "documented truth" guarantees greater transparency for the entire production ecosystem and the credibility of the overall product history. All the supply chain actors benefit from this, including consumers.

Co-operation in the production ecosystem is prerequisite for greater transparency.

Transparency

Documenting the actual history of the product allows to follow its unfolding throughout the life cycle and represents the outcome of the contributions of all members of the production ecosystem. In fact, each member has the responsibility to increase the common information wealth in total transparency, adding the data and information generated under its own direct control. Collecting and sharing data and information will help companies overcome the traditional informative gaps and boost relationships based on mutual transparency and enhance the way they operate, eventually.

Transparency in behaviour yields better and wider visibility on supply chain operations.

Visibility

The fragmentation and qualitative unevenness of data and information, which can be found throughout the production chain, hinders the full valorisation of the salient characteristics of products resulting from the painstaking selection of raw materials, innumerable quality controls and fastidious attention to food safety, as well as the obsessive compliance with strict production charters. It is therefore legitimate to aspire to a better control of one’s production ecosystem – whatever its complexity – by expanding one’s ability to “see” individual events in terms of both width and level of detail, to anticipate problems and improve the ability to adapt to varying pressure dynamics.

Greater visibility follows from the ability to overcome traditional limits and customs: understanding better, validating and anticipating with confidence.

Identity

Step after step, the agri-food product is transformed; each phase of this process contributes to enriching its history, increasing the overall legacy of data and information, starting from the individual ingredients. The legacy of historical data associated with each ingredient or component can be combined with new data, collected at each significant event of the product’s history and distribution processes. The outcome is the completely detailed history of the product and a strong definition of its identity.

Identity means distinctiveness. A product boasting a narrative, which nurtures certainty about its identity, is worth certainly more than one anonymous or indistinguishable.

Trust

Trusting a product implies recognizing its objective quality and, therefore, knowing its entire history.

Recognizing its precise identity then implies being able to verify facts and events related to its life cycle and during all the transformation phases, which led to its existence. This requires a cooperative process of sharing and processing information, featuring sharp discontinuity with respect to the past and involving contributions from the entire supply chain.

Knowledge generates trust.

Goals and benefits

Detailed knowledge of the actual life cycle of an agri-food product allows portraying its history, fulfilling whatever request to track and trace facts and events.

The application of European or national standards in many situations is often limited to formal compliance with the legislative text. More recently, advertising has ridden the growing demand for information and transparency. It is now clear how generic references to "supply chain traceability" or "frequent checks" are necessary but no longer enough to gain consumer confidence.

What does all this mean, and what does it mean for companies in the sector? What is the commercial value of these practices?

First, an opportunity to distinguish one's product from the mass of competitors – recognisable identity versus commodities – with consequent effects on profitability and image.

In addition, an effective and shared system of supply chain intelligence allows reviewing operating, cognitive and decision-making practices and processes in ways that go beyond the traditional and fragmented scenario, where each actor in the supply chain is a world of its own. In this way, supply chain members can reap various benefits, to the full advantage of the entire ecosystem of companies in the supply chain.

It is also important to underline that, although technology is a fundamental enabler of the integration of the supply chain, the determining factor for the true digital transformation of the integrated supply chain remains the will to redefine the paradigms of cooperation and transparency in commercial and industrial relations between the participating companies.

All this has the ultimate and shared goal of maximizing the collective ability to transform joint data and information into measurable value for the business of each participating company.

Gain complete visibility into the supply chain to ensure its integrity

Mitigating risks

Increase sales volumes

Safeguard reputation

Anticipating and managing operational problems

Satisfying brand expectations

Purchasing Improvements

Demonstrating what has been put in place for sustainability

Best Customer Service

Preventing and mitigating losses caused by fraud

Fully document the history and heredity of the product

Continuous performance improvement

Reduction of complaints

Increasing customer/consumer confidence

Reduction of information asymmetries

Premium Prices

Supply chain credit

The co-operation between all the actors involved and the digital integration of the supply chain make available a very rich and complete information heritage. This results with the possibility of monitoring in real-time a variety of key performance indicators (KPI), no longer limited to the individual company but rather referring to the entire supply chain ecosystem.

This provides participating companies with unprecedented knowledge and a rich representation of the actual performance of the production processes. This, it is possible to share the common knowledge to improve the product and process performance with an integrated approach, applicable not only to operational and production processes but also to the financial aspects that accompany the daily development of the business.

The ability to share this knowledge is very promising for the financial sector; having access to such a privileged view on the performance of the entire supply chain, a bank or an insurance company could consider issues such as credit, risk coverage and supply chain finance in new ways, differing dramatically from the current practices.

The most truly innovative and promising aspects stem from the possibility to facilitate the access to financial services and products for all members of the supply chain, based on its actual integrated performance rather than on the past financial statements of each single member company. All this resolve in a situation which is advantageous for all the players involved in the credit chain, with reciprocal exchanges of value.

Sustainability indices

The ability to better control an integrated supply chain system, punctually and in greater detail, results in greater possibilities for harmonious business development. Over medium-long term intervals, this capacity results in a substantial difference in the value generated.

E

Environmental sustainability is linked to the equilibrium situation of the production system, given that an equilibrium ecosystem is implicitly sustainable. Since the interaction between complex systems increases the probability of disturbances and increases the risk of irreversible alterations, it is important to have objective elements to measure the capacity of resilience and response to possible disturbances, anticipating and mitigating the associated risks.

S

Sustainability, in relation to stakeholders, is configured with the ability to guarantee equal conditions of well-being - safety, health, education, environment, sociality, leisure - equally distributed by classes and gender in an ethical context of operation and partial redistribution of the generated value in the territory.

G

Economic sustainability is strongly linked to business governance. As such, it concerns and includes every initiative and action aimed at improving both the efficiency and effectiveness of the operational, managerial, organizational and decision-making processes. In short, the whole governance of the business. Measuring the success of an initiative presupposes the definition of metrics and parameters that represent in a complete, meaningful and realistic way both the actions undertaken and the expected and results obtained.

All this will have greater significance if the (non-trivial) job of analysing what really matters along the value chain, where the greatest potential lies, and which elements of the business offer the greatest impact, is done. Proactive companies, carefully research potential initiatives and make public their approach and results, not least for investors, through ESG metrics, CSR reports and Sustainability Reports.

 

Technology

Describing the history of an agri-food product in detail means being able to collect significant information along the entire supply chain and without interruption. This operation, which requires interoperability and information osmosis between companies, cannot be the prerogative of a single component of the supply chain, however relevant it may be. It is therefore necessary to build an integrated and cooperative data collection model that is at the same time sufficiently large, covering as much as possible of the entire supply chain, and sufficiently deep, collecting the maximum information detail functional to the set objectives.

Each organisation active in the supply chain uses IT systems to support its operations, management control and administration. Therefore, a great deal of information and data already exists, even if its circulation is generally limited to the scope of the organisation of origin. It is possible to obtain an effective interoperability of the existing systems through a layer of integration, without requiring modifications to the systems. This offers the possibility of governing all the data that it is useful to acquire and make it common.

To face these challenges, PwC has invested in the creation of a digital platform capable of addressing these issues in the best way. The result is an application architecture of pragmatic interoperability and affordable thanks to the choice of its basic software components. At the same time, it is state-of-the-art for its innovative design of the conceptual ICT architecture.

The ValueGo® platform

ValueGo® is the digital platform that enables the integrated supply chain information interoperability model.

Information interoperability and the enhanced value chain data enabled by ValueGo® insist on 4 main phases:

Collection of data from the ecosystem

The data collected from the supply chain, which feed into the ValueGo® platform, may come from the most diverse sources. A data source is any data generator considered useful for documenting the (digital) history of the product.

Data acquisition

The data collected from the various sources are then "ingested" by ValueGo® through a processing engine which also harmonises and historicises the sequences of the documented events.

Product Ontologies and Digital Identity

Using a patented function, ValueGo® analyses and evaluates the compliance of the data collected with respect to standards, specifications and other rules, represented by ontologies. The goal is to confirm the effective compliance with all the rules that apply to operations and product specifications.

Data visualisation

ValueGo® offers all enabled stakeholders the opportunity to access and view collected data in a customised way. Each one, therefore, can "re-read" the history of the product based on the role played in the supply chain or based on specific needs.

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Contact us

Vincenzo Grassi

Partner | Markets Consulting, PwC Italy

Tel: +39 0266720511

Roberto Tavano

Lead | The Food Trust Programme, PwC Italy

Tel: +39 348 7676737

Francesca Pozzi

Senior Manager | The Food Trust Programme, PwC Italy

Tel: +39 340 8594220

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