We have all been in this situation before – looking around the supermarket for the freshest meat, milk or eggs, you would like to know where it has been produced, how it was created, is the product organic and when it was shipped to the store. A sell-by date can only tell you so much information, therefore the more data that can be provided to the customer, the happier they will be to purchase the item. Blockchain could be the answer to satisfy all parties, but the food industry currently only uses technology for certain aspects of the trade. Whisper it quietly, but there has been some movement already on this front to introduce Blockchain into the market.

Regulations are needed to make it a reliable and trustworthy system, but it could benefit the food industry in a number of ways. From start to finish, it could trace how the product is farmed, which pesticides are used, how the items are delivered between towns and even countries. Blockchain is a digital ledger that stores transactions and large amounts of data. Therefore, in the food industry it will be handy to have a technology that can assist the consumer, trader and supply chain as a whole. Worldwide, roughly five million different food items are already employing Blockchain in their supply chain, as the growth of the industry continues to understand the use of Blockchain.

Anything from product recalls to management at higher levels of the business could benefit from the technology to maximise transactions and communication. From a financial standpoint, it will also support the industry. There will be a reduced chance of data hacking thanks to the shared decentralised network, meaning time will be saved for transactions. Overall, the running costs of a supermarket, farm or factory will reap the rewards of Blockchain. Within the supply chain, there can be a lack of trust regarding products, their quality and regarding transactions between customers and business services.

For example, research from the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests almost one in 10 people in the world fall ill after eating contaminated food. Blockchain could provide the facts to let you know the quality and any health risks regarding a variety of products. To trace the quality of food, there’s a number of systems that could be implemented to make sure all items are accounted for and pass strict measures. In transit, the Internet of Things (IoT) would remove the need to verify operations, instead of relying on the communication between the physical and digital world.

How a food turns bad and unhealthy is essentially reliant on time and management. If the whole production from delivery and finally ending with a consumer buying is efficient, a number of issues would be resolved. United States supermarket giant Walmart has called on the expertise of IBM to increase its traceability of products, using the IBM Food Trust Solution Blockchain. This connects farmers, processors, distributors, and retailers through a secure and agreed network of data for all parties.

Danish brand MAERSK has also welcomed a hyper-ledger technology to reduce the amount of paperwork by 15% alone, which ensures maximum use of their time and resources as a business.  If there’s greater transparency across the board, fewer issues arise leading to an enhanced business and retail experience, creating a win-win for all concerned. Using technology to check the date of food worldwide is important because a securely stored system of data would boost the economy and ensure food is not wasted too.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year – approximately 1.3 billion tonnes – gets lost or wasted.”  Imagine what that food could do for the hungry and less fortunate. If a digital management tool could be created and recognised globally, it will improve sustainability and our way of life.  So which brands are looking to increase their awareness of sustainability, boost their image and make a real connection with their customers through Blockchain?

Sharing key information with the consumer about how they make, prepare and package the food will build a level of trust with the customer never seen before. A number of top high street names around the world are looking at the technology to alter the way they sell products. The likes of Starbucks and French supermarket giant Carrefour have already introduced the technology to track the beans that make the coffee and milk they source respectively.  Furthermore, the likes of Nestle and orange juice company Refresco are also heavily involved in the technology.

It’s a new concept that is constantly evolving, so it’s only a matter of time before thousands of food and drinks companies worldwide embrace the impact of Blockchain. It needs an understanding on a global scale to progress even further, but early signs show it can revolutionise the industry if rules are put in place and regulated by governing bodies. If it can track deliveries, produce life, packaging and a number of other areas, supply chains will surely be boosted by a digital level of organisation, security and easy access to data.

Blockchain’s like Alacrity can really help the food industry. This platform is about helping to build a bridge of connection between users, creating a degree of trust and ownership for your secure data. This would do the supply chain the world of good, and because Alacrity is on a decentralised network, many on the Blockchain can view but only those with the encryption key can access it. With Blockchain, there’s a number of benefits for the supply chain. For example, Alacrity can pluck external data from all sources outside of the Blockchain, accommodating all applications to share key information in the supply chain across the network.

It can help to reduce fraud by detecting alterations to transactions. Each payment will be more secure and efficient. It will benefit the industry by tracking and tracing food quality around the world and the whole production can be seen from start to finish digitally. The food industry needs assistance to ensure maximum quality as well as raising the awareness of health. Blockchain could provide the next step in this industry and Alacrity embraces that with a technology like no other to support the supply chain. All Blockchain needs to help make this a reality is global co-operation to follow the same path to a brighter future.