- Traceability company Oritain raised $57 million in a Series C funding round, led by Highland Europe. The funding will be used to develop Oritain’s technology and expand into new markets and industries, the company said.
- Food and beverage producers, such as A2 Milk and Nestlé’s Nescafe, use Oritain to assure customers that the items they purchase are genuine and produced from an ethical supply chain.
- As consumers put more value in understanding how the ingredients in their favorite products are produced when they shop, food and beverage makers are debuting more offerings that show how, where and by whom they are grown.
Oritain says its technology uses forensic science and data to analyze the intrinsic properties of a product such as meat, milk and honey to verify their origins.
The company creates a unique Origin Fingerprint for a particular item by analyzing trace elements that are affected by environmental factors such as soil composition, climate, altitude and precipitation. Once an Origin Fingerprint has been identified, it can never be tampered with or destroyed, the company said.
Its technology is certainly in higher demand now more than ever before as food and beverage makers aim to show shoppers they are listening and providing more transparency into the products they sell.
“Oritain’s forensic science can take a commodity sample and tell you precisely where in the world it comes from. Does this cocoa come from a deforested national park? ... Is this coffee truly Brazilian, as the label says?” said Jacob Bernstein, a principal at Highland, who will join Oritain’s board. “This groundbreaking technology is a dream solution for sourcing and sustainability leaders at the world’s largest brands who can finally get to grips with the authenticity of their supply chains.”
In recent years, a growing number of large and small CPG companies have incorporated traceability attributes into their products.
With nearly half of U.S. consumers likely to change their purchasing behavior based on the environmental attributes of the food, according to survey data from Nielsen, pressure is on for more companies to incorporate traceability into their products. Other items, such as extra virgin olive oil, which has been dogged by criticism that much of it is inauthentic, could see their reputation improved if they are able to provide more transparency and verifiability.
For companies and brands looking to attract and retain consumers in a sector where loyalty is fleeting, even the smallest of attributes can be valuable. According to 2019 report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, fraud and counterfeiting cost the global economy more than $500 billion annually.
Unilever and Nestlé became the first global food companies to publish their entire palm oil supply chains for consumers to view a few years ago. A mobile app developed by J.M. Smucker, Dutch beverage company Jacobs Douwe Egberts and others gives consumers the ability to trace their coffee beans with an interactive map.
in 2021, Mondelēz International said consumers purchasing its Triscuit brand will be able to trace the journey of the white-winter wheat baked into some of its Triscuit crackers from a co-op of farmers’ fields in Michigan to where the product is made. Ingredients companies, such as sugar refiner and marketer ASR Group, cocoa processor Olam and chocolate maker Barry Callebaut also have introduced traceability programs, apps and websites to provide information to consumers.