Chinese consumers could soon be able to track how many steps their chickens have taken and what they have eaten from a smartphone app
Insurance technology company ZhongAn has launched ‘GoGo Chicken’ and has already GPS tagged 100,000 chickens, with the aim of tagging 2.3 million in the next three years.
The app utilises blockchain technology, GPS tracking and facial recognition to give consumers more information about their meat’s life cycle.
Food marketing expert from Imperial College London, Professor David Hughes, told Farmers Guardian there was widespread concern among Chinese consumers about the integrity and safety of their food.
“In China there is mistrust and people with high incomes who can pay for it,” he said.
He added while the numbers seemed large, it was due to the sheer amount of consumers in China, despite not being ‘big chicken eaters’.
“If something catches on, it catches on big time. The population is so vast.”
But he said he did not think UK consumers were distrustful enough to demand this kind of technology.
“In general most people say if we find out you have defrauded us then we will penalise you by not buying it," added Prof Hughes.
But he highlighted interesting technology such as Oritain which was using forensic technology to prove if products were truly from where the products claimed and which farming system they were produced in, with a QR code and certification.
He added there was a limit to how much consumers actually wanted to know, with many not really wanting to make the connection to ’the face of their dinner’.
But the UK organic sector has been looking to utilise technology, with people also increasingly concerned about food transparency.
The Soil Association (SA) recently ran a pilot using similar technology to an Oyster card to track Eversfield Organic bacon from farm to shelf via a smartphone.
SA press officer Larissa Milo-Dale added mainstream names including Walmart and Nestle were looking into technology but it was an ‘opportunity to bring the organic certification label into the digital realm and increase understanding of just what it means to be organic’.