In blockchain we trust: knowing the source of our daily bread | Supply Chain Management

Consumers are increasingly taking ethical and environmental considerations into account when making food choices.

This demand calls on the FMCG industry to show where our food comes from, the conditions in which it has been created and processes used to bring it to our plate. This, along with more tight control of origin country when it comes to imports, means that businesses are faced with the growing need to achieve transparency in their food sourcing process. 

With incidents like the 2018 romaine lettuce E.coli outbreak still fresh in the minds of the public, the need to build secure systems to trace products from farm to fork has never been so important. However, with food supply chains crossing multiple continents and many companies – from growers, to processors and packagers – making sure what comes out of the ground is what goes on your table is a huge challenge. Typically, food supply chain data is kept across many systems. This prevents food providers – not to mention consumers – from gaining a comprehensive overview of transactions. 

Blockchain offers a solution to these challenges. The immutable and permanent trail of transactions held on blockchain systems are a welcome asset in the mission for transparency across complex supply chain ecosystems. Private, permissioned blockchain, where users are verified before they can join the network, provides a unique approach to security and privacy. This allows participants to share data without revealing highly sensitive information. 

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Blockchain’s role in supply chain visibility could also create real-time risk mitigation. With blockchain, it would be possible to identify exactly where in a supply chain a corrupted batch of produce became contaminated, giving suppliers the opportunity to mitigate and manage risk from travelling further along the chain. This plays a particularly important role when it comes to food, where identifying contamination quickly can literally mean the difference…

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