One of the directions IBM focuses on is food-tracking blockchain. The goal of the company is to develop this direction and for this purpose it signed a contract with a network of European supermarkets Carrefour that will make use of the project.
The announcement about a possibility to subscribe to the following food industry supply chain was made on Monday. It means that any small, medium or large company can join the network paying from $100 to $10,000 a month.
Of course, Carrefour participation has become a great encouragement for other businesses as this global leader has over 12,000 stores in 33 countries. Today, tracking and tracing of brand products for Carrefour is available only in three countries: France, Spain and Brazil, but their number will increase greatly by 2022.
Carrefour representative Emmanuel Delerm explained their decision was oriented entirely on consumers. However, this brand is not the only one to use the following supply chain from IBM Food Trust. In fact, it is the latest contract after joining of such renowned companies as Nestle, Dole Food, Tyson Foods, Kroger, Unilever and even Walmart. The last one even asked leafy-greens suppliers to become participants of the chain by September 2019 and be transparent in their actions – recent e.coli finding has influenced this decision.
According to Ramesh Gopinath, vice president of IBM blockchain solutions, this food supply chain is the only one working at real scale and the company will do everything to promote it broadly.
What makes the IBM Food Trust commercially interesting is tracing the route of products through the supply chain. It means that you can change the itinerary of every product anytime and send the whole order back if it does not meet some safety requirements, for example.
Goliath explained that every grower, supplier and retailer should be a part of the network and send information timely for the company to link it together.
The testing period of the ledger lasted for 18 months during which there were one 3 million transactions processed, but a live version will be 10 times quicker according to G opinath.
Leading in the food chain?
It is undoubtedly that IBM Food Trust takes top positions in tracking and tracing food supplies. The basics of the network is the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain protocol however, it can be not the only one. Another important momentum in the Food Trust functionality is Sawtooth, the codebase created by Intel. Rumors say about track-and-trace project of Cargill that took place in July and was focused on the search of ‘fish’, but any comments of this fact were avoided.
At the same time, Gopinath has not expanded much on the topic of other companies that develop this field and said only about the necessity to interoperate between each other. He mentioned that they are proud of their achievements for these 3 years and interoperability has been considered a priority since the project start. However, the company is ready to cooperate only with such mature platforms as this one.
Products to track
Carrefour representative admitted that the retailer was making efforts to create its own blockchain for over a year before joining IBM network. The main incentive for the supermarket chain was IBM’s cooperation with Walmart. But the main goal of Carrefour was to make the product range wider including unique food productions located in Europe.
Delerm explained that today the company offers consumers all the details about tomatoes, chicken and eggs produced in France and chicken from Italy.
Next to the Carrefour Quality Lines available on blockchain, the brand wants to add international brands and organic foods to IBM Food Trust too.
On Monday, Food Trust was also joined by the cooperative Topco Associates (over 15,000 stores), cooperative Wakefern (with 50 member companies and 344 stores, such suppliers as Beefchain, Dennick Fruit Source and Smithfield.
Every firm can access Food Trust uploading necessary data through the cloud or application absolutely free. More advanced functions like certificates, organic or Fair Trade credentials require additional payment.
Another IBM project to track shipping and trading developed together with Maersk is TradeLens.
According to Gopinath, this project will be also developed for commerce and acquire the best features of Food True that has been developed for over 18 months.