Category Archives: food chain

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IBM’s Food Trust Blockchain Goes Live, Carrefour Jumps in First

Multinational tech giant IBM has been leaving a significant imprint on the retail industry lately with the use of blockchain technology, and it’s doing again with the latest project, Food Trust.

IBM, not content with providing foodchain solutions for mega-retailer Walmart, has now hooked up with French supermarket giant Carrefour in order to launch blockchain based Food Trust, enabling the chain to price its products more accurately.

The recent IBM/Walmart project came up with a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain technology which Walmart committed 100 of its suppliers to adhere to. Both Walmart and IBM have been at the forefront of DLT since its conception and both companies are eager to promote the use of new technology in sectors including business and commerce. Walmart has become a primary mover in the industry in pushing blockchain forward with numerous patents pending.

The latest IBM deal with Carrefour, now operating in over 12,000 locations around the globe, offers three individual retailing solutions using DLT. The first of which, called “Trace” offers a sophisticated system of tracking products from source, which also factors in shipping and production costs, allowing the retailer to arrive at a fair price to pass on to customers.

Other aspects of Food Trust in its present early form focus establishes how goods fit retailers “Fair Trade” or “Organic” tags in order to be accurately listed on the blockchain, adding to buyer confidence.

Carrefour itself is no stranger to using emerging technologies in recent months and made a recent impact on the French farming sector this year with its blockchain based system which began tracking its chicken supply. This provided customers with an egg to table history by using a smartphone to scan a code on the packaging to obtain details on each stage of production, including origins, earlier location, feed and where the meat was finally processed.

Carrefour may be the first to use the latest IBM system, but now Food Trust is live and it’s there to be used by all in the food industry moving forward.

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C’est Magnifique, French Chickens on Blockchain

French supermarket chain Carrefour recently introduced blockchain technology into a data system allowing shoppers in Auvergne, Southern France, to get a full detailed history of their purchase: a chicken.

Carrefour’s system provides customers with a blockchain-based traceability program, currently limited to some poultry in the chain’s Auvergne stores. The system offers a record of the chickens’ life from egg to supermarket. Shoppers can use a smartphone to scan in a code on the packaging to obtain details on each stage of production, including origins, earlier location, feed and where the meat was finally processed.

Carrefour originally chose the new technology in order to trace production of chickens, but now plans to extend the data sharing program to include products such as eggs, cheese, milk, oranges, tomatoes, salmon and hamburgers by the end of the year.

The supermarket chain, which was once the world’s second-biggest retailer after US group Walmart, has said that it believes that blockchain tech applications for the food chain are effective as they allow for secure sharing between producer and consumer.

Walmart itself currently shares a blockchain platform with Nestle, Dole Food, Tyson Foods, Kroger and JD.com. Company vice-president for food safety and health, Frank Yiannas, shares Carrefour’s enthusiasm, saying that “there’s no question about it, blockchain will do for traceability what the internet did for communication”.

Yiannas claims that the new technology will considerably cut down on foodborne diseases, benefiting the economy about USD 700 million through increased productivity, thanks to fewer work days lost to sickness.

Many consumers are unaware of where their food comes from and how it’s produced. New innovators argue that blockchain provides that visibility.

Lance Koonce, partner for Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and head of the firm’s cross-practice blockchain initiative, argues that currently, the window remains open for fraud and food safety breaches, issues which would be addressed under blockchain labeling. He suggests that companies want the ability to “tell stories to their customers about honest products and provide accurate labeling”.

Carrefour announced in January a major overhaul of its business given increased competition from traditional rivals as well as online retailers.

 

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