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Chicken and greens: $97B retail firm uses IBM blockchain to track food supply

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Multinational retail giant Carrefour will use IBM’s blockchain tech to track two major food categories as part of a growing reorganization of global supply lines.

IBM’s food-tracking blockchain technology will be used by the Carrefour multinational retail firm to track food supply lines from the farm to the store. An agreement between Majid Al Futtaim — the firm that operates Carrefour in the Middle East — and IBM will see the retail giant use the IBM Food Trust initially to track two food categories: chicken and microgreens.

The IBM Food Trust is a blockchain-specific platform designed for the food industry, hosted on the IBM Cloud. Carrefour, which recorded $97 billion in revenue in 2019, will enable customers to scan QR codes on the products in question, and receive extensive information about their entire production process, according to a report by Gulf Business.

Relevant information will include product origin, date of production, transportation data, ingredients, health and halal certifications, nutrition stats, and temperature data.

Gulf Business references a recent IBM Institute for Business survey which revealed 73% of respondents sought better traceability methods for their products. Notably, 71% of respondents said they’d be willing to pay extra for services that provide it.

The CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Retail, Hani Weiss, said trust in global food supply chains was becoming an important issue — one spurred on by the outbreak of COVID-19:

“Trust in the food supply is becoming increasingly important worldwide, a trend accelerated by changing consumer demands and the subsequent health and wellbeing concerns arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Weiss said the use of blockchain technology would improve operational efficiency, and build stronger customer trust and loyalty.

“It is therefore imperative for us to invest in ensuring quality throughout the value chain while simultaneously working to build robust customer trust and loyalty. In meeting the new market expectations, we are now offering enhanced food traceability for our valued Carrefour customers and improved operational efficiency for our business,” said Weiss.

IBM’s Food Trust was first used by Carrefour in November 2019, when it leveraged the blockchain technology to track the supply chain for infants’ milk formulas.

A 2020 report  Consulting and VeChain suggested $300 billion worth of food would be tracked and traced on the blockchain by 2027. In an industry surprisingly rife with fraud, the use of blockchain tech would reportedly save $100 billion per year by ensuring the products that land in stores are legitimate.

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