Who is making your food?

The Lempert Report
April 15, 2013

Consumers are not only more interested in where their food is coming from, but also WHO is behind it.

When I released my Top Ten Food Trends for 2013, you may remember my number 10 prediction was - Transparency: Who is making our food?. Consumers are not only more interested in where their food is coming from, but also WHO is behind it. Farmers markets have increased 17 percent over the past year, and there are nearly 1000 more markets than there were in 2010. People want real information about their food. And so… I predicted that in 2013 we would start to see supermarkets adopt more responsibility in demanding transparency when it comes to food and what claims are on food labels. One of the best examples of this that we've seen recently is Safeway. Carl Graziani, Senior Vice President of supply chain for Safeway is encouraging retailers and CPG manufacturers to map their global supply chains, in an effort to identify suppliers with suspect labor practices including human trafficking and slavery. California's Supply Chain Transparency Act, requires large food retailers like Safeway to disclose to consumers on their websites what actions, if any, they are taking to eradicate slavery and human trafficking. Safeway has not only posted its’ policies, but also set up a questionnaire for suppliers to answer. In addition, Safeway has begun the time-consuming process of analyzing its’ supply chain, both private labels and national brands, to determine whether or not all their products are responsibly managed. With one private label supplier, Graziani says that Safeway "uncovered some things and made changes". Graziani is now pushing others in the industry to do the same; “As an industry, we need to think about how we can do this collectively,” he said at Supply Chain Conference earlier this year. ”Individually, it’s a monumental task.” He suggested an industry initiative to share information, as well as establish a database and standards.