co-CEO of Argyle Foods Group Lachlan Graham with a display of the traceability product.
co-CEO of Argyle Foods Group Lachlan Graham with a display of the traceability product.

Scanning code tells the story of where beef came from

Innovative beef product labelling that shares with the consumer where the cattle has come from and the conditions under which it was raised is on display at Beef Australia 2021.

The project, KPMG Origins - Trusted Beef Traceability, is a collaboration between Argyle Foods Group, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and KPMG, is a blockchain based traceability platform which incorporates a code on the beef product.

The product is exported to markets across South East Asia, with a focus on China and aims to deliver $115m in additional sales by 2025.

The code, which can be scanned on a mobile phone, leads consumers to a platform which includes information from across the beef supply chain.

The platform allows Argyle Foods Group to be able to provide international consumers comprehensive information on the paddock to plate story of individual packs of beef.

That information includes details such as information about the breeding property, the conditions under which the cattle were raised, the processing practices, certifications, Internet of Things temperature tracking and full-life traceability journey of the beef products.

It can also be used to validate product claims and underpin the premium quality status for beef from Australia.

"It can take you to more information about how to use the product," MLA general manager, research, development and adoption Michael Crowley said.

"Where it came from, how it was raised, how to cook it and prepare it.

"It gives them confidence that it has come from Australia, it's clean, it's safe, it's nutritious and high quality."

Co-CEO of Argyle Foods Group Lachlan Graham said it had been a three year journey, understanding the various Asian markets and consumers.

"Addressing one of our key market access challenges, we've worked closely with our retailers and MLA to develop a unique 'snap frozen' product and supply chain that has reduced our costs by 80 per cent," he said.

"We identified we had customers in China but we couldn't find supplied products in a chilled form so to overcome that challenge we developed a supply chain that is packing product chilled, exporting it and then freezing it, exporting it frozen, distributing it frozen, merchandising it chilled and then giving them 28 days chilled shelf life.

"This has provided Argyle increased available working capital to significantly expand our exports."

Mr Crowley said technology such as this served a number of important purposes.

"We are seeing an increasing global demand for high quality protein and a growing middle-class affluence in key export regions in Asia," Mr Crowley said.

"With this comes a heightened interest in food provenance and it's therefore more important than ever that Australia is on the front-foot to allow our beef industry to share its story and utilise new and emerging technologies to do so.

"This technology also allows us to address some of the obstacles that will support sustainable access into key international markets like China dealing with issues such as clearance documentation or shelf-life requirements.

"MLA is able to share its significant market data and insights with supply chain partners such as Argyle Foods Group to support prototyping of new and exciting products in key markets and help build a greater understanding of customers and deliver against their expectations."

"It allows those points of truth that occur on farm, right back through to NLIS data, the quality and certification data that is coming through the processing stages of the supply chain, the shipping documents," KPMG head of AgriFood tech Ben van Delden said.

"As we trace a piece of meat all the way through for the consumer … it also means that if someone wants to replace that product, we have evidence points through the supply chain that will indicate where there has been a situation in the supply chain where the original product may have been tampered with."