If you could verify how your food was grown, treated and distributed using an iPhone app, blockchain and a packaging code, would you? IBM thinks you might.
From the cradle to the plate
Everyone knows that food standards aren’t equal. Nowhere is this clearer than in the treatment of chickens destined for your plate. Some are reared in conditions considered cruel by many consumers, people who will vote with their wallets for better treatment if they are informed.
It’s not too different when it comes to vegetables, some of which travel enormous distances before reaching your local store.
Modern consumers are more concerned with the environmental impact of these journeys than ever before and want to be able to check this almost as much as they want to verify the safety of pesticides used during the growth cycle.
You don’t usually get access to such information, and if you do it is quite hard to truly verify that the data you are provided with is correct. That’s where blockchain comes into play – as does your iPhone or other mobile devices.
What IBM is doing
IBM at CES 2020 introduced a new app that uses blockchain to link consumers up with the farmers who grow their coffee beans. The idea is that when you are purchasing coffee, you can use the app on your mobile device to check where it comes from, how it’s grown, distributed, shipped, exported, blended and roasted.
The problem with accessing this information across the typical distribution cycle is that different entities are usually responsible for each step of the process. This means that no one group gathers all the data.
IBM is using blockchain as a permanent and trusted way to track what takes place across the cycle. Each party in the process has an exact copy of the information held on the blockchain, adding their own data during the journey. They don’t need to add other people’s, as that information is already in the chain.
When it comes to coffee…