Food supply chains have gotten longer and more complicated than ever before as a result of rising globalization and intense market rivalry. Some typical issues in food supply chains include food traceability, food safety, and quality, food trust, and supply chain inefficiencies, all of which pose extra dangers to society, the economy, and human health.
By publicly sharing individual product information on the blockchain, blockchain technology helps manufacturers develop trusting relationships with customers and build the reputation of their products. Businesses may boost their competitiveness by better achieving the value of their goods.
This would make it virtually impossible for suppliers of fraudulent and low-quality items to remain in marketplaces, forcing all suppliers to improve product quality throughout the agricultural and food industries. From the standpoint of consumers, the blockchain provides real and verifiable information about how food is produced and sold. It contributes to addressing customers’ concerns about food safety, quality, and environmental friendliness. The usage of blockchain allows customers to communicate with producers since consumers can comprehend the food production process more easily and in more depth. It helps consumers by lowering barriers to the exchange of commodities, hence strengthening consumer trust and confidence in food safety.
Blockchain, from the standpoint of regulatory authorities, provides trustworthy and accurate information available for them to implement educated and efficient policies.
Blockchain may record information about a product from its origin to the retail outlet. It provides a safe and immutable method of storing data obtained at the beginning of the supply chain, such as DNA from farmed animals or pesticide residues in grain or vegetables. Any entity participating in the product’s supply chain can review and verify such information. It might be highly expensive to collect such data for all items, but it can be done on samples. The transparency of such information can aid in detecting, for example, the containment of undeclared meat, as occurred in the 2013 horse meat scandal in Europe.
Many solutions assisted by blockchain technology have been presented to improve agricultural product traceability. Tian offers a system for tracing agricultural food supply chains using Radio Frequency Identifying (RFID), a non-contact automated identification communication technology. It can track items across the supply chain using reliable information. The usage of blockchain ensures that the system’s records of production, processing, storage, and dissemination are dependable and real. Caro presented a blockchain-based traceability system that works in tandem with IoT devices to offer digital data on production and consumption. The blockchain systems Ethereum and Hyperledger Sawtooth are used to achieve traceability.
Many businesses have committed to researching and actively implementing the use of blockchain technology in food safety management.
Wal-Mart, Alibaba, and JD.com, for example, are aggressively adopting blockchain food traceability initiatives and leveraging blockchain technology to track the full food production, processing, and sales process. In October 2016, retail giants Wal-Mart, Tsinghua University, and IBM used the Hyperledger blockchain system to manage food supply chains, using the Chinese pork supply chain and the mango supply chain in the United States as a pilot to investigate the practical application methods and benefits of blockchain technology. Alibaba and Australia Post investigated the use of blockchain to curb food adulteration in March 2017.
In August 2017, the world’s ten top food and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) suppliers, including Wal-Mart, Nestle, Dole, and Golden Food, formed a collaboration with IBM to integrate blockchain technology into their supply chain, allowing food suppliers’ misbehaviour to be discovered more promptly. IBM’s blockchain platform is being used in this cooperation to assist food firms to enhance the visibility and traceability of their supply chains and make food safer.
The current blockchain technology in the food supply chain is still in its infancy. At the same time, there are numerous immature and defective spots in the blockchain technology implementation process.
Furthermore, for blockchain technology to play its full function, it requires widespread engagement and collaboration from all stakeholders involved in the food supply chain. Because of its openness, security, and decentralization, blockchain technology allows for the tracking of food quality information across the supply chain. This helps to avoid food transaction fraud and lowers the expenses of food supply chain management. As a result, all stakeholders, including manufacturers, consumers, and government regulatory authorities, stand to profit.