IBM's food supply chain network, IBM Food Trust, is now generally available to the public, according to a Monday press release. After 18 months of testing by food retailers and suppliers, the blockchain-based cloud network is already growing, said the release.
Blockchain technology in the food industry is used to trace the movement of food products from suppliers to commercial retail stores. By using blockchain, all parties involved are able to see every stop a food item has made along the supply chain, and food can quickly be traced back to its source, said the release.
SEE: Quick glossary: Blockchain (Tech Pro Research)
For example, Walmart is using blockchain to track its romaine lettuce supply after recent food safety scares. The traceability allows consumers to see what bags of lettuce were affected by an E. coli outbreak, for example, and also just adds transparency to the whole process.
This is exactly IBM's mission with using blockchain, said the release. The company wants to help supply chain companies improve traceability, efficiency, and transparency, said the release.
In fact, global retailer Carrefour announced on Monday that it will be using IBM Food Trust blockchain technology to make some improvements to its operations. Carrefour will first be using the technology to illuminate customer satisfaction in Carrefour-branded products, said the release.
"The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM Global Industries, Clients, Platforms and Blockchain, in the release. "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."
Along with tracing food products, companies can also use blockchain to confirm certain digitized certificates, like fair trade or organic, and the technology also speeds up certificate management by 30%, said the release. Additionally, blockchain lets users securely upload and manage data entry on the blockchain from everywhere.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- IBM Food Trust is a supply chain oriented blockchain service that improves traceability efficiency, and transparency.
- Carrefour is a major global retailer that announced its adoption and success with blockchain technology in business processes.
- Blockchain: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- How using blockchain in the supply chain could democratize innovation itself (ZDNet)
- Blockchain: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Alibaba combats food fraud with blockchain supply chain pilot (ZDNet)
- 5 companies using blockchain to drive their supply chain (TechRepublic)
Macy Bayern has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.