Carrefour is using the IBM Food Trust blockchain ledger technology to track chicken, eggs and tomatoes from the farm to the store, according to Reuters. The retailer will extend its use of the system to 300 fresh products worldwide by 2022 in a bid to build shopper trust.
The software can cut the time needed to follow an item down the supply chain, from days or weeks to seconds. As a result, the technology will help Carrefour quickly respond to crises such as salmonella outbreaks.
Food Trust is now available worldwide; businesses pay approximately $212,000 a year for full use of the service, according to IBM. However, retailers will need to convince farmers to buy in and use the technology before it can be completely adopted across the supply chain.
Walmart already is encouraging its leafy green suppliers to embrace blockchain tracking, and plans to have its own program fully operational by 2019. The retail giant is also working with IBM on implementing the technology.
Other retailers and manufacturers involved in the Food Trust project include Nestlé, Unilever and Tyson Foods. Companies outside the food industry are embracing their own blockchain initiatives, including DeBeers’ use of the technology to authenticate its diamonds. Helzberg Diamonds is using blockchain to track its own stones as well.
In addition to improving product traceability, blockchain could reduce cross-border payment costs by 2% to 3% and create potential savings of 70% on a range of business operations, according to BitFortune.net. Other benefits include the ability to offer proof of ownership at resale, and better tracking of shopper buying habits.