The Impact of Walmart Mandating Blockchain Technology

Walmart/ Sam’s Club leads the pack again when it comes to food safety and innovation. From requiring vendors to be GFSI compliant over ten years ago, to the innovative use of Retail Link enable its vendors to manage mammoth and fast-moving inventory levels, Walmart has always been a frontrunner in implementing the use of the latest technologies.

Back in May, we wrote a blog on how blockchain technology would revolutionize the food industry. That time has come… The big dog is wagging its tail once again.

Last Monday, Walmart announced that they are going to require suppliers who provide leafy green vegetables to submit and upload data to the blockchain through their IBM Food Trust Network by January 31, 2019. Other suppliers will have to join the blockchain by September of 2019.

Blockchain technology would provide complete end-to-end traceability, as well as allow for transparent, tamper-proof data. With this year’s E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce that made over 200 people fall ill — and five people lost their lives — Walmart’s proactive thinking is good thinking whose time has come.

This new technology is the future of the supply chain and will have an impact across the entire food industry. Before blockchain, it would typically take about seven days to trace the source of an infected food supply. With blockchain, it takes a mere 2.2 seconds. This will substantially reduce the likelihood that an infected food will ever reach a consumer, and if it does, allow a much faster and more accurate recall when issues arise.

The conversion to blockchain would offer more than food safety advantages, experts say. Blockchain would speed up payment of contractors, help companies learn what products have the best shelf life and give consumers a glimpse into how a crop was grown and harvested during a time when they are demanding to know more about their food.

Blockchain technology is definitely the way of the future, but with Walmart/ Sam’s Club’s blockchain move, adoption definitely got moved to the Fast Lane.