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Name Ben Dowdle
NetID Bdow262
Group Number: 215
Website Link:
Tutorial Details
Tutor: Day: Time:
Helen Tuesday 3pm
Time Spent on
20 hours Word Count: 1589


Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil used in a range of processed foods, cosmetics, soaps and
shampoos that is used in an estimated 50 percent of supermarket products (WWF, 2014).
New Zealand imports nearly 19 million litres of raw palm oil every year (Statistics New
Zealand, 2012).
Demand for palm oil has increased exponentially over the last 40 years, from only a few
million tonnes a year to over 40 million tonnes a year (United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organisation, 2011).
The resulting expansion of oil palm plantations into primary rainforest has led to the death
of wildlife, land conflicts and carbon emissions (Sheil et al., 2009).
Palm oil can be produced sustainably and certification systems such as the Roundtable on
Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are in place to certify plantations that meet sustainable criteria
(RSPO, 2014).
For consumers to take action to demand that companies use Certified Sustainable Palm Oil
(CSPO) they must know which products contain palm oil. Under New Zealand and Australian
labelling legislation, palm oil can be labelled generically as any one of 200 different scientific
names or generically as vegetable oil (Unmask Palm Oil, 2014). This makes it impossible for
consumers to know which products contain palm oil and what kind of CSPO the product is
using if at all.
Our solution is to develop a barcode scanning app that will allow a consumer to scan a
product barcode and see information about the companies palm oil policies. This will allow
consumers to only buy products that use CSPO. If enough consumers took action and
refused to buy non CSPO products, plantations that have caused deforestation would have
no market for their oil.


3.1 Vision
Provide quality ethical information to consumers who are concerned about the use of
unsustainable palm oil in their products
3.2 Industry Analysis: Consumer Information Industry
Industry: Palm Oil Consumer Information Industry
Force: High/Low: Justification:
Buyer power: Low There is only one similar app on the market from
El Paso Zoo that only tells you if the product does
or does not contain palm oil (Google Play, 2013).
This is a U.S app based on U.S products. An
Australian app is currently being developed but
again this will not be relevant to New Zealand
products (Palm Oil Investigations, 2014). High
barriers to entry make buyer power low.
Supplier power: Low Database centred apps require few inputs. App
development and the database software are the
only requirements. A Yellow Pages search returns
over 100 New Zealand suppliers of app services
(Yellow Pages, 2014). App development is
becoming increasingly widespread, simple and
able to be done from overseas so there is fierce
competition among suppliers making supplier
power low.


Threat of new entrants: Low Palm oil barcode scanners require very large,
country specific product databases with detailed
information on each product and company.
Because the development and maintenance of
the product database is so time intensive the
barriers to entry and limited potential for
newcomers to gain market share make threat of
new entrants low.
Threat of substitutes: High Labelling laws in New Zealand and Australia are
currently under review. A proposal is currently
before the Legislative and Governance Forum on
Food Regulation which would mean companies
have to label palm oil on their products.
Mandatory labelling of palm oil would make the
need for a palm oil barcode scanner redundant
(Unmask Palm Oil, 2014). The U.S, which has
mandatory labelling of palm oil could explain why
uptake of their app was so low with less than
5000 downloads (Google Play, 2013)
Rivalry among existing
Low The only functional app is the U.S based app
(Google Play, 2013). The development of an
Australian or New Zealand app would result in no
additional rivalry as the product databases are so
different so therefore the customers are entirely
Overall attractiveness of the industry: The industry is attractive due to low supplier and
buyer power as well as low rivalry among existing competitors. The industry faces the risk of


legislative change however the app could be adapted to provide more detailed information
to overcome this threat. The uniqueness of the database and the high barriers to entry
make for a suitable industry.
3.3 Customers and Thei r Needs
Target customers of the palm oil barcode scanner app would be socially and
environmentally aware consumers. These customers are shopping for New Zealand
products and want to be able to make the ethical decision to only buy Certified Sustainable
Palm Oil (CSPO) (RSPO, 2014).
These customers need accurate and quality information about the palm oil that is in their
products as well as education about CSPO and the different forms it can take (RSPO, 2014).
3.4 The Product and Service
The palm oil barcode scanner app would allow a consumer to pick up a product at the
supermarket, scan the barcode with their smartphone and be presented with a range of
The app will display information that is relevant to the consumers decision on whether or
not to buy the product: the approximate palm oil content of the product, the nature of the
CSPO in the product, whether or not the company openly labels the use of palm oil, whether
the parent company is linked to unsustainable palm oil use and when the company plans to
be using 100 percent CSPO (if at all/if not already).
The scanner will then present a recommendation about whether the consumer should buy
the product based on a traffic light system:
 Green – The product does not contain palm oil or the product uses 100 percent
traceable CSPO
 Orange – The product is only using some CSPO but is making good progress towards
achieving 100 percent CSPO in the near future
 Red – The product is using conventional palm oil that is not certified.


3.5 Suppliers and Partners
Suppliers are the app developers who develop and maintain the app as well as the database
software that keeps track of product information and the corresponding recommendation
(traffic light system) on each product.
Partners include the Itunes app store and Google Play Store to market and sell the app.
Advertising slots will be open to companies that are Green on the traffic light system and so
these companies are considered to be partners. For the purposes of achieving credibility
other partners could include environmental organisations like WWF, Zoos, Oxfam and
campaign groups like Unmask Palm Oil.
3.6 Strategy: Focussed low cost
The app would be retailed at standard app store prices which usually range from one to two
dollars. This means the product itself is very cheap and therefore financially accessible to a
lot of people.
The app caters to a narrow market of people concerned about palm oil in their products.
While there may be a lot of people in this market it only satisfies this single need.
Therefore due to low cost and a narrow market the strategy is focussed low cost.
3.7 Value Chain Activity: Technology development and R+D
Technology development and R+D is the most important value chain activity for this
barcode scanner.
The app adds value for the customer by finding and consolidating information about all
supermarket products palm oil policies. This requires a large amount of research to develop
a product database that is accurate and credible. Therefore it is the development of the
database and the research that goes into this system that is the most important value chain
3.8 Business Processes


Product categorisation process: this business process categorises products into the traffic
light system of a recommendation to customers about whether or not they should buy the
product (see ‘the product and service’)


Research review process: this business process allows for the constant checking and
updating of the product database system based on feedback from stakeholders such as
companies and customers.


3.9 Functionalities
 Scan barcode
 Display traffic light category
 Send/Receive email to/from stakeholder
 Update database record
3.10 Systems

PRODUCT DATABASE SYSTEM – A system that stores data on individual products: it’s barcode
information, ‘traffic light’ category, information on palm oil policies, image of the product
BARCODE RECOGNI TI ON SYSTEM – A system that can scan a barcode and correlate it with
the correct product data from the product database system.
CUSTOMER TRACKING SYSTEM – Able to keep track of costomer interactions, feedback and
traffic on the app.


3.11. Summary Table: Value Chain to Systems

Value Chain
Processes Functionalities Specific Information
Broad Information

1. Product categorisation
1. Scan barcode

2. Display traffic light category

Product Data System

Barcode Recognition System
Decision Support System
2. Research review process 1. Send/receive email to/from

2. Update database record
Customer Tracking System Customer Relationship
Management System


A palm oil barcode scanner would enable consumers to be able to take action to end the
unsustainable production of palm oil and support Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). The
app would operate in an attractive industry primarily due to the high barriers to entry
caused by the database requirements.
The apps generic strategy is focussed low cost and the main value chain activity is
Technology and Research and Development. This value chain activity is led by the business
processes of the Product Categorisation Process and the Research Review Process.
Specific Information Systems such as the barcode recognition system contribute to broader
information systems that are used such as the Decision Support System.
This app is unique from the current U.S based app and has a high chance of success in the



Google Play. (2013). Palm oil guide and scanner. Retrieved May 18, 2014, Retrieved from
RSPO. (2014). Basic information. Retrieved May 19, 2014, Retrieved from
Sheil, D., Casson, A., Meijaard, E., van Noordwijk, M., Gaskell, J., Sunderland Groves, J., . . . Kanninen, M.
(2009). The impacts and opportunities of oil palm in south east asia. ( No. 51). Jakarta: Centre for
International Forestry Research.
Statistics New Zealand. (2012). Palm kernel imports. Unpublished manuscript.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. (2011). Oil palm plantations: Threats and opportunities for
tropical ecosystems. Retrieved May 20, 2014, Retrieved from
Unmask Palm Oil. (2014). About. Retrieved 20 May, 2014, Retrieved from
WWF. (2014). Which everyday products contain palm oil?. Retrieved May 21, 2014, Retrieved from
Yellow Pages. (2014). App developers. Retrieved May 20, 2014, Retrieved from