Transparency in chicken supply chain can educate consumers

The labels on Farmer Focus packaging provides consumers with an easy way to trace the chicken they buy back to the farm and learn more about the family farmers that raised it.

“First and foremost, it’s about listening to your consumers,” Corwin Heatwole, CEO and founding farmer, Farmer Focus, said. “Consumers want to know ‘where does my food come from?,’ ‘was the farmer treated fairly in the process?,’ ‘were the animals treated fairly?’ and ‘was the environment looked after in the process?’”

Consumers care about a transparent supply chain

A 2019 National Chicken Council survey revealed that environmental impact is just as important to consumers as animal welfare when it comes to purchasing decisions. In addition, nearly half of respondents indicated they would eat more chicken if they learned about the efforts chicken production has made to become more sustainable in response to consumer demand.

There is also a growing desire for transparency in food production among consumers. They now want to understand the entire process from farm to fork.

Supply chain traceability

The traceability system is simple. Each package features a four-letter code which consumers can enter onto the Farmer Focus website to meet their farmer. “It takes you right to that farmer’s landing page where you see pictures of the farm, the farmers, the children, the dogs, etc. All the stuff that gives you a good glimpse into what that farmer’s life looks like,” Heatwole said.

A different kind of operating model

Farmer Focus views participating farmers as invested partners in the entire process. Participating farmers own 100% of everything on their farms, including the chickens, which helps incentivize a special level of attention to detail and animal husbandry, Heatwole said. “We are unique because of how we started and our focus,” he explained. “Our mission is to promote and protect generational family farms. We focus on how to make farms viable and sustainable for the next generation."

Farmer Focus is a brand produced by Shenandoah Valley Organic LLC (SVO), a start-up poultry processor based in Harrisonburg, Virginia, that processes only organic birds it purchases from farmers growing in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. According to its 2020 WATT PoultryUSA Top Broiler Companies survey response, it produced 1.9 million pounds of RTC chicken on a weekly basis in 2020.

Par : Elizabeth Doughman (13/12/2021)

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Photo : Zoe Schaeffer (