A new trend is emerging that suggests marketers start mapping out their product(s) life stories strategy. This trend is especially important to food companies where the ability of a consumer to trace the origins of a product will soon play a role in product credibility.

In the case of Dole Bananas, for example, “traceability” starts with the ubiquitous and low-tech sticker that you find on the banana. Each banana’s sticker will identify the origin of the product with a three digit farm code.

Go to Dole’s site ( ), text in your farm code … in this case “776” … and you’ll be taken to “Don Pedro’s Farm” complete with photos, a description of the farm, it’s certification and a link to Google Earth for a birds-eye view.

Driven by the lowly banana sticker, the integration with high-tech internet capabilities allows the consumer, for the first time, to become one with the product. As the number of food recalls increase, this application will be in high demand … and eventually be expected of firms operating in the food chain.

Companies already on the bandwagon are coding Eggs, Olive Oils, Fruits, Vegetables, Meats, Wines and more. It’s only a matter of time before the origins of the cotton in your shirt will carry a traceability code.

Take the process one step further …. integrate it with barcodes, QR codes and RFID tags, and using the scanner capable phones now prevalent in Japan, we will have the ability to call up, on-demand, more information than we ever thought possible.

And now for a bit of levity ….

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