When the first major use of blockchains was introduced to the world in 2008, some of us were not aware of the staggering potential of this unique technology. Ten years down the line, blockchains are now giving retailers, suppliers, and wholesalers around the world a chance to trace food more effectively.
IBM’s new Food Trust Blockchain is now live for stakeholders in the food supply chain. On Monday, Oct. 8, the tech behemoth announced that its solution-as-a-service cloud platform will be available to all and will help in identifying the source and veracity of fresh produce and proteins.
Months of Pilots Lead to the Final Launch
The blockchain solution was tested by IBM for 18 months in pilots and proof of concepts, like tracing mangoes throughout a supply chain. Last month, the solution was adopted by retail giant Walmart, which announced that it would direct its suppliers to use the system for tracking heads of lettuce and bags of spinach.
The first cohort of adopters includes French retailer Carrefour, which has 12,000 stores across 33 countries. Wakefern and Topco Associates, two cooperatives with over 15,000 global stores chain combined, will also adopt the system. BeefChain and Smithfield and Dennick Fruit Source will also adopt the technology to track their produce. Multinational companies including Tyson Foods, Kroger, Nestle, and Unilever will also be among the first enterprise-level adopters of the technology.
Answering Critics of Blockchain Tech
Several critics of blockchain technology have claimed that it doesn’t have real-world use cases, apart from running cryptocurrencies. With the new Food Trust Platform, IBM has proven that blockchains can be used to make any business process more efficient and transparent.
Talking about the value of distributed ledgers in business, the senior vice president for IBM Global Industries, Platforms, and Blockchain, Bridget van Kralingen, said:
“The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared. That collaborative approach is how the members of IBM Food Trust have shown blockchain can strengthen transparency and drive meaningful enhancements to food traceability. Ultimately, that provides business benefits for participants and a better and safer product for consumers.”
IBM Food Trust creates a new business model that helps in adding value for stakeholders while implementing strong governance. It also helps in securing access rights and data and enables standardization and interoperability.