Will Sainsbury's IT scheme make a difference to producers?
Producers of Sainsbury's Taste the Difference beef queued up last Wednesday evening to sign up for Farm Connections, a scheme to help integrate them into the supply chain.
Producers of Sainsbury's Taste the Difference beef queued up last Wednesday evening to sign up for Farm Connections, an innovative scheme to help integrate them into the professional supply chain.
The scheme will provide them with free laptop computers, beef enterprise software and full support and training.
Three hundred and fifty producers who supply premium ranges of beef to ABP destined for Sainsbury's were gathered at their annual meeting in Shrewsbury.
They heard about the project direct from the supermarket's Fresh Foods Trading Director, Karen Schenstrom.
"Farm Connections is about connecting all of the links in the Sainsbury's premium beef supply chain," said Karen Schenstrom.
"Instead of producers being isolated on their farms, they will have the meat chain at their fingertips.
"I want them to be able to click a button and see everything - from information on carcase quality, to the latest market data and consumer trends.
"Many farmers feel like pawns in the market rather than players - mainly because they are not connected to their buyers, the retail market, the consumer and the wealth of market and price information available online. But getting fully equipped with the hardware, software, training and broadband connection needed is a lot tougher in the middle of the countryside than in the centre of a city."
Farm Connections is a £1m plus project funded by and involving the following partners: ABP, Sainsbury's, Meat South West, Advantage West Midlands, HCC (Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales), and the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF).