Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Throughout the past decade, we have seen the Blockchain wave. Many real-life applications and use cases have been proposed in this past decade. But come 2019, everyone’s talking about Blockchain Winter. That blockchain is just hype. And that nowhere it is being implemented. Well, that’s not correct entirely.
Agriculture and food industry are proving to be one of the most promising sectors for the growth and implementation of blockchain technologies. The gigantic industry suffers from a variety of endemic problems as it depends on complex relationships between farmers and retailers, as well as convoluted supply chain procedures which can complicate payments and product providence. As demand for agricultural trade becomes more and more international, suppliers and innovators alike are looking to bring the trade into the twenty-first century by capitalizing on blockchain’s distributed ledger technology.
The blockchain is disrupting Supply Chain across agriculture, food, and beverages. And for the first time, we have proof of that. For a start, French retail giant Carrefour, with more than 12,000 stores in 33 countries, is gradually rolling out its new blockchain-powered product, Carrefour Quality Line (CQL) micro-filtered full-fat milk. CQL is touted to ensure consumers complete product traceability across the entire supply chain — from farmers to the store shelves. Carrefour’s new product has followed a number of previous blockchain implementations by the international food retailer.
In November 2018, Carrefour launched a food tracking solution powered by Hyperledger to track free-range chickens branded as “Calidad y Origen” (Quality and Origin) in Spain. Each package in the Spanish network is marked by a QR code providing detailed info on the chicken’s date of birth, type of nutrition, packing date, and more. Previously, Carrefour had joined IBM's blockchain-enabled food tracking network called Food Trust, following major food producers such as Nestle, Dole Food, Golden State Foods, and others. Carrefour says that blockchain is a key technology for supply chains, as it provides greater transparency and allows customers to review the entire distribution process. By 2022 Carrefour aims to expand blockchain to all of its brands around the world.
And Carrefour isn’t the only one going the blockchain way. In late 2018, another French retail group, Auchan, expanded TE-FOOD’s FoodChain solution to five more countries after an 18-month test of TE-FOOD’s blockchain tool in Vietnam.
In March 2019, North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood firm Bumble Bee Foods launched a blockchain platform for seafood traceability. The project is created in collaboration with German tech giant SAP specializing in enterprise software. Based on the SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service, the new platform can purportedly monitor the supply chain of yellowfin tuna from Indonesia to end customers. Customers will be able to observe the entire supply chain and access information on products’ origins and shipping history by using a smart device to scan a QR code on the product package. The blockchain-stored data will include the size of the catch, the point of capture, as well as information about authenticity, freshness, safety, and trade fishing certification.
In a time when knowledge regarding food and nutrition is rapidly expanding, blockchain gives shoppers the ability to track the origins of store stock, helping them to guarantee to purchase a safe, quality product. Retailers and manufacturers are able to benefit from preventing flawed products from ever hitting the shelves by tracing information for individual items back to the farm where they were produced. The use of blockchain seems set to improve efficiency in agribusiness, not only improving transparency and cutting out the middle man but also leading to potential reductions in cost.
Global industry leaders like Carrefour adopting the blockchain way to simplify their supply chains prove that the blockchain isn’t all hype. And Blockchain has just begun the global food supply chain transformation.
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Image Courtesy : www.carrefour.com