Consumers have long been able to peek into the "deliver" stage of a business's supply chain by checking product availability online and tracking the status of their orders. From January to June of this year, the Australian branch of the fast-food chain McDonald's allowed its customers to gain a far deeper look into its supply chain, all the way back to the "source" and "make" segments.
During that time, the company's "Track My Macca's" iPhone application let locals (who refer to the chain as "Macca's") scan codes on specially marked boxes of popular menu items to find out where the ingredients came from. The app uses the geographic positioning system in iPhones to identify which restaurant a patron is in and image recognition to see what product the user is eating, plus the date and time, to determine the source of the ingredients.
The app allowed users to click on symbols for individual ingredients, including meat, chicken, fish, buns, cheese, lettuce, and pickles, to view photos and brief bios of the farmers, fishermen, and bakers who supplied the restaurant. Examples: Graeme Acton, who farms beef cattle on nearly 4 million acres, and Oluksiy Makhmutor, who has been fishing since he was 13 years old.