The Country of Origin Labeling law, enacted in 2009, requires supermarkets and other food retailers to notify their customers about where some types of foods are sourced, including certain meats, fish, fruits, vegetables and nuts. But some enterprising companies are taking labeling a step further – dialing the consumer back to the individual farm where the food or fiber was grown.
One such company, American Denimatrix, includes a label with a QR code on its premium, private-label blue jeans. Scanning this bar code takes consumers on a journey back to the Texas High Plains to learn more about the farmers who grew the cotton that made the denim that was fashioned into the very pair of blue jeans they’re wearing.
The traceability program was enacted through Guatemala-based Denimatrix and its owner, Lubbock-based Plains Cotton Cooperative Association. Marketing and sales director Wilson Avelos says PCGA’s 2009 acquisition of Denimatrix allowed a partnership that led to the only completely vertical farm-to-factory apparel business in the Western Hemisphere.
"People are growing more interested in sustainability and tracing their products to the source so that they understand who’s involved in producing what they consume, the conditions they labor under and the way things are produced," Avalos tells Apparel Magazine. "We’ve seen this with products like orange juice for a while – a picture of the orange grove farmer is on the carton. Now we can enable this traceability with apparel."
Apparel Magazine awarded American Denimatrix as one of its 2013 Top Innovators in its May 2013 edition.