Global Food Companies team up with IBM’s Blockchain System


A group of top global retailers and food companies have been working with IBM on testing blockchain technology to improve traceability in their supply chains. The companies include Nestlé, Unilever, and Walmart. Now CIO Journal reports on how some of the tests are going.


Last August, IBM announced that 10 food producers and retailers had agreed to collaborate with the tech giant and identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.


The participating food companies are Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever, and Walmart.


Called IBM Food Trust, the collaborative network uses the IBM Blockchain Platform to connect participants through a permission, permanent and shared record of food origin details, processing data, shipping, and other details.


“Unlike any technology before it, blockchain is transforming the way like-minded organizations come together and enabling a new level of trust based on a single view of the truth,” said Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Blockchain.


“When it comes to food safety and traceability and resolving outbreaks, you have to be fast — and you have to be right,” Frank Yiannas, VP of food safety for Walmart, said at the time.


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.


Safety is top of mind for the current participants. “Food recalls can diminish consumer confidence and lead to lost sales,” Kim S. Nash reported in CIO Journal. “The theory is that having partners and competitors share a single record-keeping system can speed up investigations of bad food and make recalls more accurate and less expensive.”


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