By the time consumers get the food that reaches their plates, the final food product goes through several touchpoints right from the farmer and every other party that are involved in the business. There is literally little margin for error in the food industry. One issue in food preparation or supply chain can be costly both in finances and health.
The worst thing that could happen in the food business is foodborne illnesses among consumers and the primary culprit in most of the cases is inefficiency in tracking. In fact, outbreaks can occur when the conventional food supply methods have a hard time tracking the source of contamination.
Whether it is the trouble of maintaining documents regarding food safety and compliance or lack of traceability in the supply chain, the major issues of the food industry can be addressed and solved with the use of blockchain technology.
Document security QR code, smart contracts and a lot more can be brought into the food industry systems with the use of blockchain. Keep reading till the end to learn all about blockchain and its use in the food industry.
Blockchain & the Food Industry
Blockchain is considered to be the next big disruption in the world of technology and is being researched and studied in several different applications, business processes and sectors. This also comprises secure storing and handling of administrative records and digital verification to power intellectual property rights and patent systems.
This also involves bringing more transparency in every part of the supply chain, eliminating the issue of food frauds and enhancing food safety/compliance operations. While blockchain has been able to establish its impressive authority in the financial industry and at present the food industry is taking a look at where this tech can be applied.
It must be kept in mind that this tech is still at its advancing stage and it would take time and ample research before it completely becomes a part of the food industry. However, we cannot deny the potential that blockchain has in making a disruptive change with its range of exceptional attributes.
Blockchain and Its Unique Features
Blockchain can be described as a distributed ledger system maintained by a network of multiple computing machines. It saves data in the form of blocks secured cryptographically and immutable in nature.
Some of the unique features of blockchain are as follows -
Well unlike the present internet system, in the blockchain tech system there is no single server where all of the information is saved. These data are stored as copies in varied computers (termed as nodes in blockchain terminology) without any central authority supervising anything. These multiple computers are connected via blockchain network and due to its distributed data copies, it is also referred to as distributed ledger technology.
Any data added into the blockchain cannot be modified, manipulated or tampered with in the future. The immutable nature of blockchain has made this tech extremely popular and have raised interests in so many different sectors where data protection and integrity is of immense importance.
Transparency should not be confused with violation of privacy. This only means that the identification of parties that are involved within a transaction is concealed with a complex cryptography and are represented by only their public address. While this identity remains secure, all the transactions carried out by each public address can be accessed. This level of transparency contributes in building and enhancing trust in the system while securing privacy.
Application of Blockchain in the Food Industry
Now imagine all these salient features of blockchain incorporated into current technologies and systems that are used in the food industry. How much revolutionizing change can it bring in this field? Let us take a look at some of the examples where the food industry players are taking a chance in this tech.
Nestle, the Swiss multinational food company collaborated with a blockchain platform called OpenSc in order to trace milk from farms and producers that are based in New Zealand to Nestle’s factories and warehouses in the Middle East.
Although this is a pilot project initiated by Nestle, it shows the massive effort the company has taken to commit towards transparency. Nestle wants its consumers to take informed decisions and hence they are using blockchain technology to share some reliable information with the consumers.
Another example of blockchain application in the food industry is El Ordeno which is a food company and one of the milk processors in Ecuador. The company has adopted IBM Food Trust in order to bring transparency and bring down the rate of food wastage.
Through the QR code available in the TRU milk products, El Ordeno wants its consumers to get access to information about the journey of the products before it reaches them. Blockchain’s integration with QR code helps in securing document with QR code.
The correct information on a food item reaches the hands of a consumer by using the potential of blockchain. At the point of sale, consumers can seamlessly scan the QR code present on the food product and get to view a log of points that the food product has traveled from the farm to fork.
Blockchain enables to record and assign a digital certificate for
each interaction with the food item. This greatly reduces the concern of food
adulteration and companies that will be the early adopters of this tech will
have stronger relationships with the customers.
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