Improving Food Traceability Using IoT & Blockchain

Siddhartha Dasgupta

August 8, 2020

The aspect of traceability at all points of the supply chain is a major concern for the food industry globally. Can Blockchain and IoT play a role?

Picture this, you finally got that long awaited reservation for a table at your favorite restaurant.

You’ve put in that order for that wild Atlantic Salmon in herb butter among other dishes, and you’re salivating at the prospect of a great meal.

Well, not to put a dampener on proceedings, but it might quite be possible that the exotic seafood species are disguised by ones that are cheaper, less popular, and widely available.

As per reports, 25-70% of exotic seafood around the world are counterfeit. Same goes for wine, 20% of wine sold in the world is believed to be counterfeit, which alone is worth $6 Billion.

Food safety and security has been a global problem for quite some time, and it costs the food industry billions of dollars annually.

Blockchain & IOT

In recent times, we have seen use cases of Blockchain & IoT being used together to solve the problem of traceability.

A successful use case connected the temperature in the context of frozen foods, collected by IoT sensors an sent to a blockchain network which improves the visibility of the entire supply chain for all stakeholders.

As per a recent report, Blockchain & IoT solutions can reduce costs by $70 Billion annually and create revenue opportunities more than $45 Billion.

Its also estimated that the potential losses borne out of food safety risks will reduce by $12-14 Billion annually.

Given the tremendous economic upside of over $150 Billion in potential savings across the food supply chain annually, all stakeholders have allowed technology to be the focal point for the betterment of all.

The Big Picture

Globally, there are five key areas which are critical to the transformation of the food industry:

  • Food production
  • Food processing
  • Supply chain
  • Global trade
  • Stakeholder mindset

As there is a thrust for greater transparency, traceability and trust across the food supply chain, its imperative that all organizations and individuals in the supply chain adopt IoT, automation and Blockchain which will go on to bridge the trust deficit between the producer and the consumer.

As we are living in a phase of stable distributed ledger technology, there are clear advantages in data management and traceability with the pervasiveness of decentralized computing:

  • Bridge trust gap: When products are verified along with production data, it increases consumer confidence.
  • Information accuracy: Improved supply chain visibility of all types of information will lead to better collaboration and planning.
  • Consumer engagement: Consumers will have the ability to share about the product and the brand beyond the POS.

 

Lower reputational risk: Immutable and audit-able data reduces the risks of scandals and product recalls.

 

  • Compliance: Provides impetus to the government for creating regulations covering all areas of food product viz. pesticide usage, food traceability, water conservation, etc
  • Ethics & Sustainability:  Its an opportunity to educate consumers on sustainable farming practices and bring them up to speed with efforts to reduce supply chain emissions, etc…

Conclusion

Emerging technologies such as IoT and Blockchain present new possibilities for the foods industry and enables all stakeholders to make a difference.

A higher standard of food production and supply can be followed by the joint efforts of tech firms, governments, and enterprises.

Its imperative for all cogs in the food supply chain wheel to ensure food safety and increase transparency while having minimal environmental impact as the food travels from the farm to fork.

Source: Cointelegraph, Cointelegraph & VeChain Report on Food Safety

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About the author
Siddhartha Dasgupta

Contributing Author

Sid has been a content solutions evangelist and a digital marketer for 10+ years. Having written for brands such as IBM, Infosys and other technology corporations and startups, he is always at the cutting edge of researching & writing about emerging technologies.

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