Food retailers are looking to make the food chain more transparent and more efficient using blockchain technology. In Belgium, Carrefour is about to introduce a QR code to pork and poultry this year that shows the product's entire life span.
Stopping food waste
After an 18-month test period, IBM is releasing its blockchain solution Food Trust worldwide. This will improve traceability, transparency and efficiency in the food chain: at this moment, more than three million food products have been sold that are fully traceable through the application, a number that is still growing. Thanks to the global availability, retailers can check the origins of their products in a few seconds rather than a few days.
Originally, IBM Food Trust was developed to reduce concerns about food safety and to simplify recalls. Since then, the tool has evolved into a way to optimise the food chain with attention to the origin and freshness of products as well as the reduction of food waste. Blockchain technology allows the various parties involved in the food chain – from suppliers to retailers – to share information on the origins, handling and shipping of food products in a controlled way.
Also in Belgium
Carrefour will be among those to use the solution: in Belgium, the retailer had already launched the 'transparent chicken' earlier this year, but will extend that to pork by the end of 2018. Consumers can use the QR code on the meat to track the journey that it has gone through to reach their plate. That initiative fits in the launch of the retailer's Act for Food commitments.
The pilot programme that IBM had running with Walmart, will be expanded: the American chain has demanded that a large part of its vegetable suppliers become part of the IBM Food Trust network by September next year at the latest, so as to guarantee field-to-fork traceability.