How Blockchain Technology will Revolutionize the Food Industry

Blockchain technology is a way of storing and sharing information across a network of users in an open virtual space. A problem food manufacturers face is the complexity of tracking their products from raw material to consumer. Food safety is as pertinent to food manufacturers as it is to consumers. Utilizing new blockchain technology would provide complete end-to-end visibility, as well as allow for tamper-proof data. A number of industries, like gold production and pharmaceuticals, are already seeing the advantages of this technology.

Blockchain in the food industry would allow restaurants, grocers and farmers alike to easily trace and track each step of the supply chain, from “farm to fork.” Blockchain allows for specific products to be traced at any given time. Walmart, who sells 20% of all food in the United States, has just completed two pilot tests. Before using blockchain, Walmart conducted a traceback test on mangoes in one of its stores. It took six days, 18 hours and 26 minutes to trace their mangoes back to its original farm. Using blockchain, companies who utilize this technology would be able to provide all the information a consumer would want in a mere 2.2 seconds. Six days is an eternity in the case of product contamination. Using blockchain technologies, product contamination could be contained quickly and food waste could be greatly reduced, as it currently stands at whopping 33-40% a year.

Being able to have this large mass of data in one space, in real-time, would allow distributors, farmers and manufacturers to easily see their competitor’s prices. This would allow each group in the supply chain to be able to compare what others in the industry are doing, and in turn, be more competitive with their prices and more productive in their work.

Transparency is more important than ever to consumers. By setting up a system where consumers could simply scan a QR code on a food product using a smartphone, blockchain would allow each person to be able to see a log of the journey of that food product. The system would record and assign a digital certificate for each interaction with said food item, which would reduce the risk of adulteration in food products. I think it is evident that companies who become early adopters of blockchain technology will create a stronger customer loyalty through transparency.