Blockchain Technology: Case for the Trace

Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based food cooperative Topco Associates began testing a new blockchain solution from Purchase, N.Y.-based Mastercard last fall, following its decision a year earlier to join IBM Food Trust. Food City, one of Topco’s members, is initially using Mastercard’s blockchain-based Provenance Solution in tandem with Envisible’s Wholechain traceability system to provide better visibility into the ethical sourcing and environmental compliance of the seafood selection at its stores, including salmon, cod and shrimp to start.

Dan Glei, EVP of merchandising and marketing at Food City, which is owned and operated by Abingdon, Va.-based K-VA-T, noted in a press release that the solution will help the grocer “pinpoint issues in the food chain during any unfortunate events such as recalls.”

But the technology has an added bonus, as some of the same farm-to-fork information being captured for business needs can be shared on the consumer end. Deborah Barta, Mastercard’s SVP of innovation and startup engagement, says that her company collaborated with Envisible, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based company that enables supply chain visibility in food systems, to address consumer demand for more transparency. “More and more, consumers are demanding an understanding of the origins of the food they eat to make more informed purchasing decisions,” she explains.

According to Barta, the solution is now live in Food City’s supply chain for seafood, and is on track to roll out to grocery stores during the first quarter of 2020. Consumers will be able to scan the QR code of the product at the counter with a mobile phone’s camera, which will then prompt a browser link that allows them to explore the journey of the items they’re purchasing, all the way back to the fisherman.

From Crop to Cup

While seafood seems like an obvious choice for blockchain, due to concerns over country of origin and counterfeit products, nonperishable products are also…

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