Exhibitor Spotlight: FreshChain Systems
More than just a traceability solution, FreshChain is an innovation in the way consumers can connect to producers. Scanning a FreshChain QR code not only brings up information about the provenance of food, it also tells the story of who produced it and where it came from. Producers themselves can track the journey of their products once they leave the farmgate, with alerts built in to the system if anything goes awry along the way. Co-founder Greg Calvert gives us a sneak peek ahead of FreshChain’s appearance at Global Table next month.
Tell us how and when your business started.
The idea was seeded a number of years earlier when discussing different industries facing similar challenges around product traceability and safety and the negative effects when it goes wrong.
We identified a compelling need and opportunity to authenticate product origin and quality, protect brands in overseas markets from counterfeit (while securing top dollar) and, importantly, share stories from growers and producers who are passionate about the food they produce.
FreshChain Systems was born out of those discussions and we officially launched in September 2018 with a focus on fresh food.
Why did you want to pursue this business idea?
We pursued this idea to show that end-to-end food traceability and creating more intimate relationships with consumers can be done in a way that’s easy to implement, effective and, importantly, low-cost with a return on investment irrespective of your size or automation.
We decided to focus on fresh food because of its importance to the current and future economy in Australia in terms of food security, employment, revenue, reputation, health and wellness and our competitive advantage. Bad actors and poor quality are significant risks that could undermine our standing.
Australia has some natural competitive advantages but we must lead the way in efforts to protect our fresh food image. The risk to our farmers and wider economy (both upstream and downstream) when things go wrong and cannot be contained are both heartbreaking and long-lasting, often many years after the event.
We also realised we could do something about current levels of food waste, by supporting farmers to better manage their product through the supply chain and identify early if the product has been compromised to avoid further costs of disposal.
What is your favourite fact about the agriculture or food industry?
The complete agricultural supply chain, including the affiliated food and fibre industries, provide over 1.6 million jobs to the Australian economy.
What do you think makes a great trade show or business event?
Great organisation with time set aside to meet and network with those attending. As with all great trade shows, things do get busy so a mechanic to capture details of those passing by but unable to stop and chat is crucial to the value as an exhibitor.
What are you looking forward to learning more about at Global Table?
New ideas. New connections. Opportunities to present and partner. Challenging the status quo.
Where do you want your business to be in three years?
Be the global authority for transparency, traceability and connecting people and producers.
In your opinion, what has been the most exciting innovation in food over the last five years?
The most exciting innovation over the past five years would be natural treatments, such as Apeel, to fruit and vegetables to extend shelf life and reduce food waste. Applying edible plant material on the surface of the fruit slows down water loss and oxidation, one of the major causes of spoilage.
What else would you like to see change in the food and agriculture industry?
Use of the amazing but brutal and unforgiving land we don’t inhabit.
What technology or innovation can take us there?
Connectivity and digital transformation! With new technologies in robotics and AI, the possibility of farming in remote locations where it’s difficult to secure human resources without proper infrastructure or access suddenly becomes a reality.
See FreshChain Systems in the Innovation Precinct, presented with Seeds&Chips, at Global Table, 3-5 September 2019, Melbourne Showgrounds. Tickets to the event are still available.