Cointelegraph has reported yesterday that the US leading chocolate production company, Hershey, is joining blockchain-based consortium AdLedger, which was founded by IBM, Tegna and blockchain company MadHive in 2018 as a non-profit consortium developing shared ledger technologies for the digital advertising market. Recently we have seen increased interest in introducing blockchain technology in the food industry, as dynamics of the business world are forcing companies to become more reliable, transparent and to keep the quality of their products at the highest possible level.
As you may know by now, blockchain has first appeared as part of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and it developed from there, finding its applications in various industries and changing the economies on a global scale. One of the first food-chain stores to use this new technology was Walmart, who tested the blockchain by tracing the origins of mango sold in their stores.
The test took them 6 days, 18 hours and 26 minutes to trace a package of mangoes to the exact farm of origin. By using blockchain, it took them only 2.2 seconds.
As for Hershey, their head of addressable media and technology, Vinny Rinaldi, reportedly stated:
“This would be a fundamentally massive shift in the way that we think. Now, let us explore one of the main reasons of introducing blockchain in food industry: safety and high quality.”
According to the data provided by WHO, approximately 582 million of people get sick yearly around the world. Simultaneously, CDC has reported that 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick due to foodborne diseases every year, with 128,000 hospitalized and 3,000 dying. We can see now why tracing the origins, processing and transportation of each product is so important. It can basically save lives if we know what exactly we are dealing with.
Blockchain solution introduced by IBM is built on a distributed ledger technology and it provides shared, digital look at the transaction to all permissioned participants in the network. Information about each product is digitally related to the corresponding food item and stored in the blockchain every step of the way. No matter how many physical or legal entities are involved in handling the goods, all of them can be traced very easily and instantly. These data can eventually provide crucial details in potential issues dealing with food safety. The best thing is that all participants in this chain: producers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, consumers, would share the same digital book of records and be able to access all the necessary information. Transparency at its best! And it is saving lives. How cool is that?
Apart from altruistic reasons, the companies are naturally interested in saving their brand image and providing the quality products. Imagine what kind of a damage can a company suffer if the media reports that a single contaminated article was found among series of products. It would probably take years to regain the trust and reputation. With development of technology, the consumers have become more demanding and they know their rights. And their ultimate right is to be provided with high-quality, safe products.
In which industry you think blockchain can show its full potential?