Method-of-production (MOP) data refers to data that conveys how the animals, plants, and all other constituents in a food product have been grown, reared, and processed. It should include method-of-farming and method-of-manufacturing data.
MOP data taken at farm, processing, and manufacturing levels are the prerequisite data to determine the socioecological impacts of food and beverage products.
At the moment, most initiatives relating to labelling and reporting of socioecological impacts of food and beverage production rely on using generic or synthetic life cycle assessment (LCA) datasets that do not account for variability in the method-of-farming. This increases uncertainty and lack of trust in the accuracy of the generated socioecological impact information.
The inclusion of method-of-production data in the formation of food labels will ensure that farmers and producers who are critical to the supply chain are accounted for. Current models do not account for the multitude of ways in which one item of food can be produced. Some fail to consider the actions of the initial step in food production - how the food is created? Farmed, lab-grown, manufactured, and so. And, the differences in how the food is farmed, grown, and manufactured.
In order to convey accurate impact information on food labels, the data being analysed must include all stages in the food production cycle. From farm or lab, right through to the final manufacturing process.
Farm and production level data required to determine the socio-ecological impacts of food and beverage products.
C.L.E.A.R. believes that:
All agriculture and food transparency initiatives should incorporate MOP data taken at farm level.
All social and environmental (also known as eco) impact labels introduced in the UK should use MOP data that reflects the country-of-origin and the respective environmental and social impact associated with the MOP of the country.
The benefits of method-of-production data to various institutional interests:
MOP data is a prerequisite dataset in agriculture and food transparency initiatives, including creating metrics that underpin labelling schemes and reporting initiatives.
Environmental, social, and governance research agencies and rating agencies could use such a dataset to develop environmental and social impact analyses to inform businesses and investors.
Image by Emli Bendixen at Quicke's Cheese
Measuring on-farm sustainability:
We recognise the Global Farm Metric (GFM) as an exemplary model of a developing common framework to be embedded into existing farm data collection systems. GFM aims to create a consistent baseline of process-based and impact-based data for sustainability which will strengthen and align existing metrics of the food and farming industry and drive positive change.
“Businesses are increasingly expected to make net-zero commitments and the capital markets are supposedly building in greenhouse gas emissions risks into asset prices, but actions on food and climate change need to avoid carbon tunnel vision.
What we need is a system-approach to building a socio ecologically resilient food system. Method-of-production data is the much-needed primary data to enable meaningful socioecological impact analysis. If collected, it has the potential to benefit other regulatory and market-based instruments to address individual and institutional interests in animal welfare, human health, biodiversity and other socioecological impacts of food and beverage products.”