Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from. Sustainability initiatives and the growing interest in local sources of food have added pressure on food companies to provide more information on the traceability of the ingredients in their products.

Chiquita’s Fresh Express brand has launched a new online tool that lets consumers find where the lettuce in their bagged salad products came from. The tool is housed on the Fresh Express Web site and is very consumer friendly. I found it easy to use, and loaded with relevant, interesting information.

Fresh ExpressChiquita announced the launch of the new traceability tool in March with a press release to all the major trade outlets. It has launched a major consumer advertising initiative to promote the new tool and attract consumers to the site. TV commercials began airing March 29. The company is also using social media, including food blogs and Facebook, to promote its new message.

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit recently published an in-depth interview with Tanos Viviani, Chiquita’s global chief marketing officer, and the team that launched the new campaign. The interview includes a discussion of the propriety research that led the team to develop the new online tool, as well as their strategies to promote it. Click here to read the entire interview.

This is a unique example of a food company using new online and interactive applications to engage its customers with its products. It will be interesting to see if other food marketers follow with their own traceability tools.