Opinions

Blockchain is Serving the Food Industry & Consumer Trust is on the Menu

Our ever-increasing indulgence in the digital world has affected all the majorly consumer driven industries, whether it be retail, entertainment or food. And the impact has gone from being subtle to straight out glaring at this point. Lets take a look at the food industry, which is an industry that thrives on consumer trust, however that trust has been dwindling in recent times, because with social media, a bad review goes a long way.

Consider the case of the famous American eatery, Chipotle.Back in 2015, unfortunately a major E.coli breakout shadowed the company, after which the company’s profits drastically dropped 44% as compared to the same quarter the previous year. And since then the company has tried different tactics, like giving out coupons, in order to regain its place amongst the consumers, but its safe to assume that no one can recover from an E.coli situation, at least not completely.

However, with the emergence of the new blockchain tech with its platter of solutions for different industries, it just might serve increased trust for the food industry on a silver platter. Here’s how the blockchain tech can potentially help in building consumer confidence in the food industry.

Food Recall

Every year there are a handful of people, who are victim to foodborne diseases, while some get off easy with stomachaches, others are not so fortunate, and sadly end up loosing their lives as a price for take-out food. One of the key reasons as to why we still hear and see such incidents is the inefficiency that comes with product recall. It simply takes far too long to isolate product recall or contamination issues in the supply chain.

And it seems like Walmart has taken the first step in order to counter this problem, by striking a partnership with IBM in order improve their food tracking process in China. As per the estimation of both the companies it takes days and even weeks for Walmart to track a package of mangos from the farm to the store; that is under the current system. However, with the blockchain tech’s track-and-trace solution, the tracing process took mere seconds.

This comes as a saving grace for the restaurants and grocery stores, as in the events of a foodborne illness outbreak, they will have the power to immediately carry out a trace and remove operation.

Product Labeling

With globalization, we have different people belonging to different cultures, with different way of living and even different religions co-existing in one place and each person has a preferred way of living. Some people, strictly vegan, some survive on only organic produce and some consume only halal food. And such food items can be found neatly labeled and stacked in grocery stores, however can people really trust those labels?

Under the current system there are third entities, companies like Where Food Comes From (WFCF) to see to the confirmation of the product label claims. But with the blockchain-based reputation and standards for suppliers, this process can be revolutionized. It will ensure the integrity of the marketing claims and existing certifications along with facility audit reports will be registered on blockchain for the verification of the claims. When consumers are aware of the fact that the company’s labeling is backed by a traceable, immutable blockchain system, trust will inevitably and drastically increase.

Farm & Distributor Information

While most of the solutions offered have been targeted towards consumers, these blockchain-derived solutions are not leaving the distributors or the farmers out of the picture. This tech will provide farmers and producers with the real-time access to market data and commodity prices. And once they have better information and insight of the marketplace, they can put up a more competitive and productive game in the food industry.

So we are finally entering the era where we no longer will be ignorant to what we are putting in our bodies. Who knew blockchain tech had the potential to do that. Right?

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Abeer Anwaar

Abeer holds a Bachelors degree in Media studies and covers blockchain startups for BlockPublisher. An optimist, excels in the art of the written word and swears by the joy of all things sweet. Email: abeer@blockpublisher.com or contact the editor at editor.startups@blockpublisher.com

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