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Every time you walk through your local grocery store, there seems to be more choices at your fingertips. There are often new food items in each aisle, more nutritional supplements stocked on the shelves and an array of fresh fruits and vegetables on display in the produce department. With all these options, companies and consumers are putting a greater emphasis on the need for traceability.

Traceability is a relatively new facet of shopping for many people. It allows consumers to track and understand the origins of products and ingredients, thus empowering them to buy responsibly from companies that have made a commitment to accountability and sustainability.

By understanding where ingredients are coming from, shoppers can make better choices. With this additional information, they know they can trust the authenticity of claims being made through marketing. Being able to track back products and ingredients to their origins allows consumers to develop a sense of trust with that producer. This transparency gives them a clearer picture of the food safety, environmental impact and ethical, sustainable business practices used to create that product.

Some companies have been on the forefront of transparency. For decades, Nutrilite has kept careful records for each ingredient used to make their supplements – from who sowed the seeds to who harvested the plants. Their commitment to traceability is lengthy and transparent. The ingredients are then tracked through each step in the process, from farm to distributor. This kind of transparency builds confidence behind a brand that can be trusted.

Understanding where products and ingredients come from empowers consumers to “buy responsibly.” Each choice a consumer makes with traceability and accountability in mind can lead to a more sustainable planet. We’ll show you some easy ways you can use traceability to shop for products that are healthier for you and are more sustainable for the Earth.

What is Traceability?

At its most basic level, traceability is the way a product or ingredient can be tracked all the way through its own supply chain – from how, when and where it was produced, to how it may have been processed and where it was distributed. This level of transparency has become a priority not only to give consumers the information they deserve, but to promote accountability from producers and to ensure food safety at every step.

It’s becoming more common to see traceability information on company and product websites. These details serve to educate shoppers on where certain products originate and how they are selected and distributed. For example, a chocolate company may identify where its cocoa beans are sourced and even highlight some of the sustainable farms they work with to create their products. Traceability details like where and when items were produced are now often found on packaging. For consumers, that information is key because it makes us feel confident about what we are bringing home for ourselves and our families.

The same can be said for brands like Nutrilite, which sources some of its supplement ingredients from farm-raised vegetables, fruits and herbs. The team behind Nutrilite offers their customers peace of mind by keeping careful records for each ingredient used to make their supplements so customers know their Nutrilite supplements are as pure, safe and effective as possible. This kind of transparency builds loyalty and confidence behind a brand that can be trusted.

Traceability is a plus for the environment

Transparency is also a plus for the environment by putting an extra layer of accountability in place, ensuring company practices are not abusing limited or protected resources. Consumers who care about this kind of environmental traceability now have the ability to check and see that a product is produced in a way that matches their comfort level. For example, if they are concerned about how a particular food is grown in a certain part of the world, they can use traceability to only purchase items that are shown to be grown using environmentally sustainable practices. Or if they are concerned about the problem of overfishing in a specific area, this accountability allows them to make sure they are purchasing products that don’t contribute to valuable resources being depleted.

Traceability improves food safety by holding companies accountable

All the steps involved in traceability have gone a long way to improve food safety by holding up a magnifying glass when it comes to how ingredients are grown, processed and distributed. Tracking each step gives consumers confidence that producers are being accountable for the accuracy of what they are selling and their product marketing claims. For example, if someone wants to buy 100 percent Italian-grown olive oil, they can look to the label for assurances they are getting a single-country product. This level of transparency also has taken food safety to a higher level as each step in a food item’s supply chain is tracked. That way, if there is a food safety problem with a specific batch, it can be removed from the supply chain before it reaches consumers, or consumers can be alerted with specific product information in the case of a voluntary or involuntary recall.

Traceability improves ethical business practices

As consumers, we’d all like to believe the companies producing the ingredients and products we buy are not cutting corners or engaging in unethical business practices. But it is traceability that shines a light, making these transgressions more difficult for companies to hide. In an age where issues like unregulated labor and exploitation of children have come to the forefront for consumers, being able to track where a product is made and how it is produced goes a long way toward keeping companies honest and giving consumers the information they are looking for.

By taking advantage of all the details traceability offers, consumers can be confident that companies are being held accountable and providing information shoppers need to buy wisely for a more sustainable planet.

* Nutrilite™ products and ingredients are not organic.