Business & Technology | How Blockchain Technology fosters Transparency & Efficiency in Food Supply Chain

Business & Technology | How Blockchain Technology fosters Transparency & Efficiency in Food Supply Chain

What is Blockchain, IBM & Walmart, Blockchain - that changed the face of the food supply chain, Foodborne Contamination, Blockchain in Other Applications

Companies are finding ways out to break the barriers in the supply chain to provide unprecedented and transparency in the food chain. Food is often the geographic-dependent from source to supply channels, with many food products in the food chain relying on dozens of companies to make up the ingredients before the food product is ready for distribution and sale

In food, just one faulty ingredient can endanger the entire product, so there needs to be a way out to trace the ingredients before going downhills into the larger products in the supply chain. Blockchain has a decentralized system in which,  everyone from small-scale fishers and farmers to large manufacturers and retailers can have equal footing and access to traceability data.

Blockchain which is a booming technology in supply chain analytics and has bewildered experience in cryptocurrencies and bitcoin is changing the face of real-world problems.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain simply refers to a bookkeeping method that "chains" together with the information so that they are hard to modify later. At its basic, a blockchain is a computer file used for storing data – information. Like any computer file, it exists on a digital storage medium, such as a computer hard drive. And it takes the form of a string of binary “bits”, ones and zeros, which can be processed by computers to be made readable by humans.

IBM & Walmart :

Frank Yiannas-VP of Food Safety at Walmart, has spent years looking for solutions to track the lettuce, steaks, and snack cakes from farms and factories to the shelves of Walmart. But when the company dealt with salmonella outbreaks in 2017, it often took weeks to trace where the bad ingredients came from. After that, IBM executives flew to Walmart's headquarters to propose a solution: the Blockchain.

Blockchain - that changed the face of the supply chain:

Blockchain introduced a new way to track the shipments & transactions in the supply chain of all kinds from various fields: food to prescription drugs to diamonds. Because all the participants—growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators, and consumers—can gain permission access to secure and reliable information about the state of the food for their transactions, keep their own live version of the data without any central authority, they could access everything from inside to outside without hampering the trust and no one else can tamper the data.

Blockchain will allow shoppers to track food products right back from the primary producer by tracking how and where the food we sell is produced, mere from their smartphones with Blockchain providing the new levels of transparency and accountability – responsible systems result in safer food.

Foodborne Contamination:

Every year one in 10 people fall ill globally and around 420,000 die due to contaminated food, according to WHO. These contaminated diseases caused by mere common agents- bacteria, chemicals, viruses, parasites, and toxins.

There are other critical issues other than contamination such as food-borne illness, and waste, which is unknown to the people who were shipping them lacking the traceability

By using a blockchain, the issue of "traceability" solves with - Blockchain. By using this technology, when a problem arises, the major factor is to quickly identify the source of contamination is since one can identify across the whole spectrum of the food chain.

It can indeed take days or weeks to identify the precise tipping point for contamination. The food supply chain is categorized into three main categories:

  • Agricultural production
  • Industrial processing
  • Wholesale or retail distribution

However, as we dig deeper into each category, different fields will emerge.

All the participants gain "permission access" to known and trusted information regarding the origin and state of food for their transactions. In doing so, they can access the blockchain network to trace the contaminated trace throughout in food chain.

Blockchain in Other Applications:

Beyond food supply chain applications, blockchains are now being used to transform processes and streamline transactions for everything from flowers, real estate, and banking, to education, government, and health care. In fact, hardly a day passes without industry or sector being considered ripe for blockchain application.