How blockchain can beef up food sector

As the technology backbone of Bitcoin, blockchain has moved beyond the cryptocurrency world into many other industries, which include food and beverage. Alan Lim, blockchain leader at IBM Asia-Pacific, writes on the potential blockchain has to offer to the food and beverage industry, and elaborates how businesses are embracing this technology to enhance food traceability.

BY ALAN LIM

How does one track the freshness and safety of a dozen of food products, literally ranging from A to Z – including avocados, beef, chicken, durians, eggs, fruits, to zucchini – spread across a few hundred stores, on a real-time basis? How can businesses get their customers to inform them about the health of their food products as well as let them know where it originated from and how fresh it is?

This brings forth a new, revolutionary technology called blockchain. And combining this backend technology with an app empowers customers to scan and learn about products, as well as flag issues about those products.

If this sounds cool, it is. One global supermarket, Carrefour, is already using it. It is running blockchain tech to track dozens of fresh food products in its stores. The 12,000-store supermarket chain recently announced its Act for Food programme under which consumers can use a mobile app to scan a QR code and get details about food items. “Knowing exactly where a shipment came from can help a store quickly find out if its inventory is from a tainted batch,” the retail giant pointed out.

What exactly is blockchain tech? Simply put, a blockchain is a database that is shared across a network of computers. Once a record has been added to the chain, it is very difficult to change it. To ensure all the copies of the database are the same, the network makes constant check to ensure data integrity.

To find out how food and beverage businesses are embracing blockchain, click here to read to full article in our Food & Beverage Asia Jun/Jul 2020 issue.