With the food industry experiencing a decline in customer trust after the recent food contaminations (ie., E. Coli outbreaks and others ) , the industry has now found it rather imperative to reassure customers while also enhancing customer experience.
The industry has found an innovative way to increase trust through the use of blockchain solutions in the food sphere, as they are already being utilized in a similar fashion in parallel industries like beverage, pharma, the financial industry, and beyond.
Blockchain technology and solutions will help build and/or restore consumer confidence in the following ways:
Food Recalls and Life-Saving
With one in ten people around the world becoming ill due to foodborne diseases, and with an astronomical number of approximately 420,000 dying from these illnesses, blockchain solutions will help with quickly isolating and documenting and tracking product recall or contamination issues in the supply chain.
Blockchain track-and-trace solutions is enabling immediate tracking of affected items and associated serial number(barcode) to their origins(distributor and original supplier), so that the issue can be tackled quickly toward isolating and/or removing the contaminated products from menus, shelves, and supply chains. Likewise, that supplier will be flagged immediately on the blockchain so that other clients who have sourced or bought the vegetables can be made aware of the danger.
IBM is already leading the way by working on a solution that will significantly improve food tracking abilities, which may reduce such process to seconds from weeks.
Blockchain solutions are advantageous for everyone in the industry, including the customers whose lives are going to be saved.
Lastly, this solution will be made more effective by assigning a uniquely identifiable number, the number that is usually assigned by GS1( the global standard body that offers unique codes called GTINs that are applied to products), to every crate, shipment, or individual package of produce. To ensure effectiveness of the track-and-trace strategy, every participant in the supply chain must transfer custody of their products every step of the way.
Trusted Product Labeling
Although there already are companies, like “Where Food Comes From (WFCF) “, that put workers on the ground to test different claims in the marketplace to confirm product label claims(ie., organic), blockchain solutions can also bring the food industry together around regulations and consumer demand, while ensuring the integrity of marketing claims, by enabling existing certifications and facility audit reports to be registered on blockchain to prove authenticity of claims.
That said, once there are enough buy-ins from participants in the supply chain, the good labeling practice of ethical companies will be amplified, thereby, weeding out companies who make false claims or misstate the origins of their products through blockchain’s decentralized tracking systems.
Trust is being built and further increased, as products are backed by the traceable and immutable blockchain system.
Increased Empowerment and Productivity
Beside consumers, farmers as well as distributors are also being empowered by blockchain solutions, as
the technology is enabling real-time access to commodity prices and market data. Moreover, with better information about the marketplace, these players will become more competitive and productive.
To take advantage of the benefits provided by blockchain solutions, companies like Block Commodities Ltd. have entered into partnerships with commodities exchange groups (ie., Global Markets Exchange Group International LLP ) to create a blockchain-based platform for African commodity markets. The platform aim is to connect farmers in sub-Saharan Africa with worldwide buyers and brokers, that will further democratize the process, produce actionable insights to empower farmers by enabling them to get better prices for their crops as well as financial assistance at reduced-rate(s).
Lastly, blockchain solutions will provide visibility to consumers on what’s inside the products that they are consuming, enable them to make trustworthy food choices, and help establish and secure trust.
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