How Blockchain Could Revolutionize Local Sourcing for the Food Industry

The media attention on blockchain technology typically focuses on the financial impact of cryptocurrency. But blockchain’s potential transcends coins; it will transform the daily operations of entire industries. …

681 0
681 0

The media attention on blockchain technology typically focuses on the financial impact of cryptocurrency. But blockchain’s potential transcends coins; it will transform the daily operations of entire industries. From global shipping to healthcare, blockchain’s imminent impact on data dissemination is infinite.

Another industry that is ripe for reinvention fueled by blockchain? Food. Thanks to an increased public awareness and interest in holistic health, more consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it is prepared.

Food companies and manufacturers, bloggers and social media influencers, and grocery and food retailers all offer consumers the opportunity to learn more about the foods they eat, and increased media attention and food production activism have demanded that the food industry reflect the public’s desire to increase food production transparency.

According to research from Sullivan Higdon & Sink FoodThink, only one-third of consumers think the agriculture community and food companies are transparent; “just 37% of consumers somewhat or strongly agree that the agriculture community is transparent and only 34% agree that food companies are transparent about how food is produced.”

But what if it were possible to track every detail of each ingredient of your meal — knowing exactly which orchard your apple came from and the day it was picked, or being able to access information about where the chicken you’ve got on the menu was raised and what frozen truck transported it to your local grocer? With blockchain technology, it is completely possible to access such detailed information about food products, and more.

In order to understand how blockchain technology can be applied to the food industry, you have to first understand how the technology itself functions. Most basically, blockchains are ledgers that offer equal access to data information among everyone involved in the project.

With blockchain, there is no singular entity that holds the keys to the kingdom; blockchains enable a more democratic digital state. Blockchain architectures are, not only shared publicly, but also, decentralized, secure, trustworthy, and automated.

As blockchain technology continues to improve and more companies participate in gathering data, it will be easier for consumers to make deliberate choices about where the food they buy is coming from. Trends point to consumers becoming more discerning and more committed to local, sustainable food sources and reduced environmental impact.

Here are two significant benefits the implementation of blockchain technology could bring to the food world:

Decrease Inefficiencies

Munchies, Vice’s food site, has recently paid attention to the impact of blockchain technology on the food industry, noting how “an overwhelming majority of food today goes through a ridiculously large number of touchpoints as it wends its way from producer to purchaser; the process can be inefficient, costly, and a breeding ground for contamination and fraud.” Food industry giants like Walmart, Kroger, McCormick and Company, Driscoll’s, and Tyson Foods are just a few big-leaguers already implementing blockchain systems to better track food sources, preventing and reducing incidences of foodborne illness.

Food waste is another major issue that the global industry has yet to solve, but blockchain-based operations might be the key. Dispatch Labs, an emerging blockchain-based protocol, is developing a foundation in which sustainable sourcing applications can thrive. As food supply chains grow more global in nature, data storage will become an increasing point of contention, even on blockchain-based architectures. As the next iteration of blockchain, Dispatch addresses the current weaknesses and has built a solution that stores data off the ledger, thus allowing the ledger to grow without sacrificing security and efficiency.

On a decentralized shared ledger system, like Dispatch, organizations ranging from food corporations to restaurant groups and farmers unions, can monitor production and distribution. Offering complete and secure access to every entity’s interaction on the supply chain can help organizations best spot patterns of waste and inefficiency, and subsequently reallocate supplies that were previously wasted, to organizations fighting global hunger. This is just one of the many potential use cases Dispatch’s protocol can facilitate.

Increase transparency and quality

The public wants to know where their food is coming from, and how its quality and safety is assessed and managed.

But as Angel Versetti, CEO of Ambrosus, a platform that assures quality, safety, and origins of food points out, tracked and trusted food products could have an enormous impact on the food economy that reaches well beyond knowing where your food came from and that it is safe to consume.

Current blockchain architectures store information and data files within the blockchain, which means that as more data is added, the ledger grows at an unsustainable rate. Dispatch is designed to store data off of the ledger, on individual user databases. The storage strategy does not diminish the accessibility of information for all involved, but it does allow for more efficient growth.

As blockchain technology continues to improve and more companies participate in gathering data, it will be easier for consumers to make deliberate choices about where the food they buy is coming from. Trends point to consumers becoming more discerning and more committed to local, sustainable food sources and reduced environmental impact.

The power of easily accessible information tracing foods’ complete history from farm to fork will be transformative on every level for the food industry. Consumers demand the right to make informed food choices, and blockchain presents the opportunity for them to do so. All signs point to food transparency becoming increasingly critical in the years to come, especially as local-business-supporting, shop-small-thinking millennials and gen-zers increase their spending power. Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the food industry, but the potential of this technology has yet to be fully realized. Businesses would be wise to start investing in this technology now to keep their edge in the future.

Share This:

In this article

Join the Conversation