YottaMark Inc. is upgrading its HarvestMark Produce Traceability Initiative system and adding to HarvestMark 2013 systems that monitor freshness through the supply chain and handles consumer feedback.
The HarvestMark offerings — PTI, Insights and Connect — will be demonstrated at booth No. 2978 at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in Anaheim, Calif., Oct. 27-28.
Insights, which monitors freshness, was two years in research and development, said Elliott Grant, co-founder of Redwood City, Calif.-based YottaMark.
“It’s really the most exciting part of our product line,” Grant said. “We all understand the importance of freshness. What has been difficult is to understand the root causes of quality and freshness in the store and kitchen.”
Insights offers new data to growers and shippers, he said.
“It’s not just saying that your salad is pinking,” Grant said. “We can say it’s coming from this branch or packing facility and it’s this many days old, and that makes it actionable.”
To do that, Insights captures data from harvest, cooler and the retail outlet. At retail, HarvestMark auditors make a quality assessment that includes taking photos viewable by grower-shippers.
“It’s an on-line tool they can log into every day and see how product is performing at the edge of shelf,” Grant said. “They can ask, ‘How does my product look in the last week in a store in Cincinnati or the East Coast?’ It makes it easy to understand whether a retail channel is having a challenge, whether a package size is performing poorly, even down to a seed variety or growing region and how that affects customer satisfaction.”
Grant sees Insights as a collaborative tool for growers, shippers and retailers.
“HarvestMark Insights is unique in its ability to pinpoint bottlenecks in the fresh food supply chain that reduce freshness, and identify what’s causing poor quality on the grocery shelf,” Al Vangelos, board member at Naturipe Farms and Sun World, said in a news release.
Connect is a new mobile marketing platform, designed to give growers and shippers consumer feedback. It does so using any quick-response code reader on a shopper’s smartphone. No other app is required, though HarvestMark has one available.
Connect can work with shippers’ existing lot codes. The company previously required use of HarvestMark codes. It no longer does, Grant said, though some will continue to use those codes.
Reggie Griffin, former corporate vice president of produce, merchandising and floral at The Kroger Co., said in a release that Connect makes a one-to-one relationship possible between consumers and retailers.
HarvestMark PTI now offers a software-only option, where before computers and printers came bundled with the product. That brings the price as low as $1,500, Grant said.
PTI has also been enhanced for automated line packing.
HarvestMark customers include The Kroger Co., Driscoll’s Strawberry Associates, Sun World and Calavo Growers.