Traceability and transparency are becoming touch paper issues for food makers grappling with complex global supply chains. The problem isn’t a lack of data, a food industry expert observed recently, it’s that there’s too much of it. And despite all of the digital innovation taking place, good old spreadsheets still often trump high tech answers, he suggested.
Stockholm-based software company TrusTrace believes its solution stands out from other SaaS traceability platforms on offer because it offers an answer to the complexity of the data challenge. It has been developed to deliver a ‘one-stop-shop’ for food, fashion and retail brands. “While we may all seem the same, we stand out in three ways,” Shameek Ghosh, CEO and Co-Founder of TrusTrace told FoodNavigator.
Keep it simple stupid
The first is simplicity for the end-user. “We are built for the scale of ultra-large and complex supply chains. There are other companies that focus on the same traceability aspect, but many of those have a lot of manual processes, and no one is able to manage the depth of data that TrusTrace has. This means that brands and retailers can fully understand and provide evidence for each step of the supply chain, simplifying and enabling everything from compliance, risk management and footprint calculations to claims support and communicating easily and credibly with consumers about product origin and impact.”
Another key difference to TrusTrace’s approach, Ghosh continued, is that the company provides ‘a connected ecosystem’ of stakeholders than focusing on just one piece of the puzzle. “TrusTrace provides a connected ecosystem of key stakeholders across the industry such as brands and retailers, suppliers, certifying bodies, lifecycle datasets and other sustainability solution providers. Brands can do comprehensive deep dives into supply chains of all sizes. It’s truly a one-stop-shop for all traceability and transparency needs,” the digital innovator told us.
The third differentiator – linking back to the first point on making complex masses of data accessible – is the ease of implementation. “Large and ultra-complex supply chains have hundreds of thousands of data points, which are often sitting in existing systems, but stored in a number of formats like excel sheets and pdfs. Achieving comprehensive transparency in those cases requires technology that can take what already exists and automatically add it into the platform, as manually doing so would be far too time and resource intensive; not only for the retailer but for all of their suppliers. The TrusTrace platform does exactly that, which is unique.”
That TrusTrace can integrate with other platforms is ‘fundamental’, Ghosh insisted. He believes that industry-wide collaboration and high-quality data is an important unlock needed to move towards a more equitable and sustainable food system.
“That’s why we connect stakeholders throughout the ecosystem in one central platform. Having too many solutions and systems would mean that valuable time is lost updating several systems and trying to calibrate between different ways of measuring. This time should be spent fixing the real challenge; creating real, deep and verified transparency and giving brands, retailers and suppliers a baseline from which to create positive change.”
Founded in 2016, the platform is AI, Blockchain and BOTS. It specifically targets risk management, compliance, product claims support, footprint calculations and the ability to confidently and easily share data with eco-conscious consumers about product origin and impact.
TrusTrace already currently has a portfolio of more than 40 customers, including well-known brand and sustainability leaders like Fjällräven, Filippa K, Zalando, Decathlon and Coop.
Through its open architecture, the platform integrates seamlessly with retailer, manufacturer and supplier systems, as well as those of third parties such as certification agencies, lifecycle datasets and other sustainability solution providers. Today, there are more than 8,000 suppliers, 250,000 products and over $12 billion worth of goods tracked on the platform.
“TrusTrace already has a strong foothold in the European fashion and food markets. For example, TrusTrace already works with Coop, one of Sweden’s largest food retailers, to enable product specific sustainability declarations across 10 parameters for 45,000 food items. It is world’s most advanced sustainability footprint information covering Biodiversity, climate, soil fertility, water, use of pesticides, eutrophication, animal care and antibiotics, working conditions, local impact and compliance to law,” Ghosh revealed.
Fresh funding to fuel expansion
TrusTrace has just closed a $6 million growth investment led by Industrifonden and Fairpoint Capital, together with previous investors BackingMinds, and with support from Fashion for Good.
Rebecka Löthman Rydå, Investment Manager at Industrifonden said the investment group was attracted to TrusTrace because it is looking for ‘the most transformative ventures to invest in’; those ‘with the power to have a meaningful impact on society’.
“Supply chain traceability and transparency are critical for retailers to become sustainable. That’s why we are very excited to partner with TrusTrace – the best platform on the market,” she claimed.
The new capital will be used to further accelerate global expansion, expand product development, and strengthen the team.
“A key aim with this funding round is to strengthen the product and help the company further break into the US market and specifically the US food, retail and fashion markets," Ghosh added.