Blockchain-based IBM Food Trust initiative, which includes global retailers such as Walmart and Unilever, is about onboarding new retailers and suppliers this year. This was reported by Benjamin Dubois, digital transformation manager of global supply chain at Nestle, in an interview with Swiss daily newspaper on Jan. 28.
The IBM Food Trust blockchain has been underway since fall 2016, with the first product trials spearheaded by Walmart in China in December 2016. Nestle, for its part, has been engaged in testing the product as of August 2017.
The IBM Food Trust uses the IBM Blockchain Platform to connect companies through a permanent, and shared record of food origin details, processing data, shipping, and other details. In tests, IBM’s blockchain technology can track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain to the retail shelf in as fast as 2.2 seconds compared to days or weeks.
Via a simple QR code system, a consumer can in theory know:
“Not only the origin and composition of the product, but which farmer participated in the harvest, when it was made, the date on which the food was processed, the identity of the factory that took care of it, even how many employees the agricultural enterprise has and which ethical certificates the producers hold.”
From the start of testing, there have been over 350,000 food data transactions on the platform. IBM notes that the use of blockchain technology can reduce the cost of the average product recall by up to 80%. General availability is expected to be announced later this year.