Blockchain Food: The Future of the Industry

Many industries are utilising blockchain technology, and food is no different. Read on to discover how blockchain is set to revolutionise the global food industry for the better.

Blockchain is a system in which records of cryptocurrency transactions are maintained across several computers, linked together in a peer-to-peer network. It’s a promising new technology that allows digital information to be stored and distributed, and, crucially, not edited. Because of its usefulness, blockchain has already been applied to industries such as media, retail, and now, of course, food.

Blockchain technology is currently being used in food supply chain management, combating major challenges faced in traceability and distribution.

First and foremost, just what is blockchain food and what can it be used for?

How is blockchain food technology used in food traceability? 

The current food tracing system is hindered by paper-based records and visibility gaps, which makes it difficult to report foodborne illnesses and outbreaks both quickly and efficiently. Blockchain food technology makes auditing food products simple, providing end-to-end visibility of supply chains. With blockchain, contaminated food can be identified instantly, limiting the number of affected customers. 

Because of its tracking capabilities, blockchain tech can be used for food distribution purposes. It allows distributors, like supermarkets, to pinpoint where food is on its journey from farm to table.

According to one source, 20% of the world’s top grocery stores will use blockchain for food safety by 2025. Walmart, the world’s biggest supermarket company, has already started experimenting with this technology, with other retailers, such as Carrefour, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Alibaba, Auchan and Kroger set to follow suit. 

Blockchain not only benefits suppliers but also customers, who value sustainability and quality ingredients now more than ever. 

Despite this, smaller producers remain underpaid. For example, Fair Trade coffee producers receive just $1.30 for a pound of coffee that retails for $20 per pound in the US. Using the transparency of blockchain, farmers will have the option to track their products through the supply chain, take ownership of their produce and connect with customers directly. 

What else can food blockchain be used to track?

Pharmaceuticals  

Counterfeit medicines are a serious issue for the pharmaceutical industry and cost billions of dollars each year, not to mention putting millions of people at risk. However, with the help of blockchain technology, pharmaceutical companies can better track medicines through the supply chain using individual serial numbers. 

By tracking production updates by serial number, blockchain tech provides a tamper-proof source of truth that eliminates opportunities for illegal duplications. 

Mining 

Companies are obligated to ethically source raw materials that provide the basis for smartphones, cars, and computers. However, it’s difficult to achieve high traceability of minerals, especially as mining regions can have outdated paper-based systems that can be easily altered. 

Using blockchain, companies can closely track the origins of raw materials from the mining stage to the supply chain. Network ledgers serve as fool-proof records that log the correct location of extraction, the amount mined, and any changes made to the material’s ownership or composition. 

Do restaurants use blockchain food tech? 

The short answer is yes, restaurants do use food blockchain technology. It’s currently being used in a number of different ways, including loyalty programs, food tracking, and even the metaverse. Although it’s still early days, there are currently ten different cryptocurrency-themed restaurant chains that allow customers to pay using digital assets. 

Restaurants have a variety of uses for blockchain technology, utilising it for purposes including:

The future of food traceability looks bright 

With blockchain technology, the farmer, wholesaler and retailer will be able to properly track fresh produce from farm to supermarket. With key benefits to consumers, implementing and developing this emerging tech will help provide a sustainable future for the food industry worldwide.

You can find out more about how blockchain is set to improve other industries by clicking here

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