The food and beverage industry was highly unregulated in the early days of the industrial revolution, which led to many unfavorable incidents, such as product recalls and foodborne illnesses. The statutory authorities and governing bodies across regions felt the pressure to introduce safety standards and regulations to avoid unforeseen circumstances by the end user. The high number of cases related to foodborne illnesses leading to deaths raised a global concern regarding genetically modified foods, chemical residues, and other similar issues in foods, thus leaving a major impact on the food processing industry in various countries.
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The global increase in the number of food recalls has posed serious threats to public health as well as to the growing economy. On average, the direct cost of a product recall borne by the food company varies between $10 million to $12 million, in addition to the loss of sales and brand. The major concerns pertaining to food safety have put human life, industries, and companies at stake. Factually, for ensuring food safety and quality, the food industry addressed the management with the introduction of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), the International Organization of Standardization (ISO9001), and others.
There has been an increasing demand for food supply documentation and tracking equipment among the consumers for tracking the supply of food products at every stage of production, processing, and distribution of food items. These demands consist of stringent solutions pertaining to food safety compliance within the food industry, resulting in the development of a reliable food traceability system. Food traceability system helps in recording the process and the movement of food products such as meat or fresh produce through different tracking technologies such as RFIDs and barcodes in order to avoid food recalls. For instance, during the occurrence of a food borne illness, the food traceability system provides an efficient assistance in the recall of the food product and in the investigation of the cause. Moreover, the systems help in increasing the reliability on the information, once it is transmitted and verified, assisting the consumers to purchase food products with a sense of security. Traceability is gaining widespread recognition in developing and under-developed countries, and therefore, tends to be global, dynamic, and complex in nature. The market is expected to progress to a substantial extent due to the global population and food sufficiency concerns.
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Usage of food traceability solutions has increased considerably over the past few years because of the growing incidences of foodborne illnesses and poisoning caused by contaminated food products. Companies engaged in the manufacturing and distribution of food products are mandated by the respective regional and international regulatory agencies to implement food traceability products.
The dominance of fresh produce in the food traceability market is due to the increasing concerns of food safety and the rise in the number of food recalls of fresh produce, which has led to the popularity of traceability systems for fresh produce on a global scale. Fresh produce consist of freshly grown and harvested fruits and vegetables; and are generally sold among the greengrocers, farmers market and fruit markets.