Tracking the oceanic food supply globally

Intelliware assesses the financial impact of tracking the world’s seafood supply.

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is an international, non-profit professional organization for the advancement of food science and technology. It is the largest food science organization in the world, with almost 18,000 members from more than 100 countries. The Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) is a public-private partnership program IFT created to function as the global resource and authoritative voice on food traceability.


Food traceability offers tangible financial benefits for food companies across the supply chain. It can drive new market opportunities, lower costs, increase margins, and reduce business risk. However, some stakeholders mistakenly believe that food traceability is just a method to verify the source of products, while some stakeholders appreciate that there’s more to traceability but struggle to quantify the benefits.

Enter Brian Sterling and the GFTC. Mr. Sterling is the Managing Director for the GFTC, which helps educate food organizations on the full business benefits of traceability. Finding a way for these organizations to easily quantify these benefits led to the creation of the Seafood Traceability Financial Tool.


Based on input from seafood business leaders and owners, Intelliware built a tool enabling organizations in the seafood industry—harvesters, processors, distributors, and retailers—to understand the financial costs and benefits of implementing traceability.

In designing the tool, ease of use was paramount. As Sterling explained, “The tool needed to be easy to use because many business owners we talked to did not want to spend a lot of time or resources calculating the return on investment.” Consequently, the tool helps businesses identify the payback from traceability by asking basic questions about the organization, and their reasons for investing in traceability. The tool guides users through an assessment of how traceability may impact their business, including items such as:

  • New market access and customer growth
  • Lawsuits and liability insurance costs
  • Recall management costs
  • Information management
  • Scrap/waste/shrink costs
  • Quality management

The tool delivers the Net Present Value of investment over the user-selected time horizon and displays a confidential results page with a forecast of return on investment.


GFTC offers this tool to the seafood industry and makes it freely accessible online at: As Sterling summarizes, “The presentation of the results is clear and concise, and the ability to share them is very helpful. Several people have remarked that they could use the results directly with their management or even with banks as a guide to the return on investment in traceability.” Going forward, the tool could be adapted to other food sectors, such as dairy, meat, baked goods and produce.

 “Intelliware was easy to work with. They were able to quickly and effectively take the direction and requirements from our user test groups and turn them into a working tool… Intelliware worked closely with users and GFTC researchers to develop a tool that delivered both flexibility and robust, rigorous financial calculations for the ROI of traceability.” – Brian Sterling, Managing Director, the Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC)