Despite UK poultry consumption continuing to rise with associated production up 2.2% compared to this time last year, it is one of the sectors that still needs greater investment in technology to aid supply chain visibility.
Mick Keyes, chief technology officer at Poultry Sense says that retailers and processors are facing increasing pressure from consumers, who want to understand where their food comes from, how it is produced, and the environmental impact of production.
But he explains, to achieve this, aligned data throughout the supply chain, that can be readily analysed and interpreted, is key.
“‘Data is king’ but currently the data available within the poultry industry is not being used to its full potential,” adds Mick. “Elements of the supply chain lack integration, making it difficult to collate and analyse data accurately and effectively.
“The poultry food supply chain is one of the most complex logistical processes, with many touchpoints required from bird production through to consumer purchase.
“However, advancements in technology, such as wireless sensors, secure IoT platform-based software, and blockchain technology will allow targeted, optimised, highly accurate data that cannot be modified, to be recorded from farm to fork,” he explains.
It is this type of technology that will allow the poultry industry to take the next step forward and achieve full supply chain visibility and traceability which consumers are crying out for.
“That said while technology provides the tools to make this possible, collaboration with domain experts is key.
“Producers, vets, nutritionists and consumer groups are key when it comes to interpreting and understanding the physical data and analytics produced by this technology, so evidence-based decisions can be made on bird health, welfare and performance at farm-level,” adds Mick
“For processors and retailers, a reliable data set means supply and demand predictive modelling can take place on many components to include feed requirements, bird quantities and sizes. This will allow processors to know when, where and how they can fulfil retailer demand,” he adds.
“This technology will also mean that supply chain adjustments will be more efficient and issues such as recalls can be resolved quickly.
“Supply chain integration and visibility is going to be key in increasing consumer confidence and helping the industry to continue move forward,” concludes Mick.
 DEFRA, 2020, United Kingdom Poultry and Poultry Meat Statistics – April 2020