Industry sources have raised fears struggling supply chains will be swamped with demands for information, as the government pushes ahead with the launch of its new Data Transparency Partnership.

The Grocer has learnt ministers are to appoint a 50-strong board from across government departments and industry to oversee the new body, which will collect data on metrics including health, food waste and carbon emissions.

A response to Henry Dimbleby’s calls, in his National Food Strategy, for a national database to chart industry progress on key areas of health and sustainability, the government’s plans have been widely welcomed by campaign groups as offering the potential for a “new era of transparency”.

Talks are due to begin in the next few weeks on exactly what information companies will be required to report on, with Defra, BEIS and the DHSC all involved, as well as the FSA.

A source told The Grocer: “It’s emerged there will be a project board of 50 people sat underneath this very grand title. 

“It looks like a very complicated structure.”

Some industry sources fear the paperwork and reporting requirements involved could dwarf that of the now defunct Responsibility Deal, which focused only on health.

“The structure that they are proposing, and the sheer time involved, is enormous when you think of the pressure supply chains are already under and the fact they are overloaded,” added the source.

“There are also big questions about what data they already hold, what data they need and what they are going to do with it.

“The big fear is that the data is used against us.”

However, another source told The Grocer the new partnership could be one of the most significant developments in the industry history, with the potential to ramp up the use of evidenced-based data to tackle key societal issues.

“There will undoubtedly be some resistance from industry, but this is the direction of travel and it is only right that it involves departments across government as it’s important that this work is joined up.”