Food Chain Meets Blockchain

Feb 8, 2022

Blockchain technology isn’t just for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies: applying it to food traceability is closer than you think.

How close? Try November, when the FDA is scheduled to finish writing the rule requiring the food industry to keep and update records on supply chain events like growing, receiving, transforming, creating, and shipping for specific products—essentially tracking a vegetable from farm to supermarket.

Although blockchain may sound complicated, Wal-Mart, Nestle SA, and other food industry partners have been walking down the blockchain path since the Food Trust launched in 2018, using technologies from IBM. Today, more than 500 organizations have joined the Food Trust.

Soundbite: “For the food and beverage industry this opens up a whole world of opportunity,” said Jimmy Nguyen, founding president of the Bitcoin Association. “It means you can create applications that allow better traceability on food and beverage items including to document source of origin… as well as achieving sustainability goals.”

But that’s not all… Blockchain in the food industry can also be used to track inventory, provide consumers with detailed ingredient information, fight counterfeiting and fraud, boost reward and loyalty programs, and allow simpler auditing and reporting.

Where this goes: While many would agree blockchain is the future of food traceability, it must overcome its largest hurdle—simplification—to be more widely accepted.