Nearly 93 percent of all consumers are more likely to be loyal to a
brand when it commits to full transparency, according to a 2017 Label
Insights study from the Food Marketing Institute1. The survey
also revealed 74 percent of consumers would switch from the brands they
usually buy to ones that provide more in-depth product information
beyond the physical packaging. In Europe, the fresh meat industry has
been moving toward this goal for twenty years. In the U.S., Performance
Food Group Company (PFG) has been working with European technology
innovator, IdentiGEN, for 10 years to align supply chains, building the
first complete DNA Trace Back System to the farm. PFG has connected the
information loop to provide greater accountability, improve
sustainability, ensure quality, and prevent fraud.
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PFG’s Braveheart® cattle can be traced from farm to plate using PathProven® technology. (Photo: Performance Food Group)
“Working with our partners at IdentiGEN, and throughout the supply chain
has allowed us to build the largest Beef Program in the U.S. that can
link the steak on a plate to the specific animal and source,” said Steve
Sands, Vice President of Protein at PFG. “When we first began
implementing this technology we were focused on where the animal came
from and specific traits to ensure optimal eating quality. Now we are
using this data to provide feedback to our ranchers and other
stakeholders to improve animal welfare and efficiencies.”
Braveheart® Black Angus Beef, a premium Midwest-raised beef
that is traceable back to its origins with DNA technology, has been
added to the menus of 18,000 U.S. restaurants in 900 U.S. cities since
its debut. Braveheart Black Angus Beef is the fastest-growing brand for
PFG, also known as PERFORMANCE Foodservice, one of the leading
foodservice distributors in the U.S.
Protein is booming in the U.S., with per capita consumption of beef
setting a record at more than 220 pounds consumed per person in 2018,
according to USDA estimates. PFG has more than doubled its protein sales
over the past decade. The fastest growing part of PFG’s protein program
is fresh meat produced under PFG’s proprietary PathProven program.
PathProven is PFG’s assurance that the product is traceable, auditable,
and meets a specific set of farming and processing standards established
and controlled by PFG. It is focused on quality at every stage of
production by optimizing feeding, animal health, humane treatment,
environmental impact and the processing of the animal. Using DNA
Trace Back System technology, PFG can verify the origin and handling
throughout the supply chain ensuring consistent premium quality protein.
As major retail and foodservice operators demand greater traceability
and assurance from their suppliers, PathProven is ahead of the industry
in delivering a live audit system, bringing accountability to the audit
process. PFG is in the process of instituting PathProven supply chains
across the protein spectrum.
In its own research2, PFG has also seen this growing consumer
interest in transparency. While 75 percent of consumers surveyed by PFG
said traceability was at least somewhat important, 45 percent said it
was very important. Meat was one of the most important categories.
Nearly twice as many consumers said information on traceability was more
important than the brand or retailer. Animal welfare, particularly with
beef, was also notable, with 76 percent of respondents claiming they
would be at least somewhat more likely to buy it if they knew about the
animals’ living conditions.
“With the PathProven system, and PFG sharing information back with the
farm, we are moving toward a more accessible information system for all
consumers to know what they are buying,” said Sands.
About Performance Food Group Company
Built on the many proud
histories of our family of companies, Performance Food Group is a
customer-centric foodservice distribution leader headquartered in
Richmond, Virginia. Grounded by roots that date back to a grocery
peddler in 1885, PFG today has a nationwide network of approximately 75
distribution centers, 15,000-plus talented associates and more than
5,000 valued suppliers across the country. With the goal of helping our
customers thrive, we market and deliver quality food and related
products to over 150,000 locations including independent and chain
restaurants, schools, business and industry locations, healthcare
facilities, vending distributors, office coffee service distributors,
big box retailers and theaters. Building strong relationships is core to
PFG’s success – from connecting associates with great career
opportunities to connecting valued suppliers and quality products with
PFG’s broad and diverse customer base. To learn more about PFG and our
divisions, Foodservice and Vistar, visit pfgc.com.
1 The Transparency Imperative report from FMI in partnership
with Label Insights was based on an online survey of 2,022 U.S. grocery
shoppers 18 years of age and older.
2 The survey was
conducted among a sample of 2,001 general consumers in the U.S.,
weighted to census. This survey was live on March 28 – April 1st, 2019.
All statistical tests were performed at a 5% risk level.