Global retailer Carrefour announced they will use the IBM Food Trust blockchain network to strengthen their food excellence actions in its more than 12,000 stores in 33 countries and to all Carrefour brands worldwide by 2022.
“Being a founding member of the IBM Food Trust platform is a great opportunity for Carrefour to accelerate and widen the integration of blockchain technology to our products in order to provide our clients with safe and undoubted traceability,” said Laurent Vallée, general secretary of Carrefour. “This is a decisive step in the roll-out of Act for Food, our global program of concrete initiatives in favor of the food transition.”
Using blockchain for trusted transactions, food can be quickly traced back to its source in as little as a few seconds instead of days or weeks. Unlike traditional databases, the attributes of blockchain and the ability to permission data, enables network members to gain a new level of trusted information. Transactions are endorsed by multiple parties, leading to an immutable single version of the truth.
“The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared,” Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Clients, Platforms and Blockchain. “That collaborative approach is how the members of IBM Food Trust have shown blockchain can strengthen transparency and drive meaningful enhancements to food traceability. Ultimately that provides business benefits for participants and a better and safer product for consumers.”
The members of IBM Food Trust have helped build a powerful global business solution that is interoperable and built on open standards and include Topco Associates, LLC, representing 49 members, reaching over 15,000 stores and 65 million weekly customers; retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern, representing 50 member companies and 349 stores; Suppliers including BeefChain, Dennick Fruit Source, Scoular and Smithfield.
“Blockchain holds the potential to help us be more transparent and transform how the food industry works by speeding up investigations into contaminated food, authenticating the origin of food, and providing insights about the conditions and pathway the food traveled to identify opportunities to maximize shelf life and reduce losses due to spoilage,” said Ed Treacy, Vice President of Supply Chain Efficiencies at the Produce Marketing Association.
These newest participants join a movement that is accelerating among retailers and suppliers. For example, Walmart, an early proponent of blockchain technology, recently announced that it will begin requiring its leafy green suppliers to capture digital, end-to-end traceability event information using IBM Food Trust.
IBM is working with services and technology providers to contribute important supply chain, provenance, testing and sensor data to the blockchain ecosystem. Through a library of IBM Food Trust APIs, hardware, software and technology companies can write transaction data directly onto the blockchain network to provide valuable insights. Some of the partners include 3M, Centricity, Trellis Framework and Emerson.
IBM Food Trust uses a decentralized model to allow multiple participating members of the food supply chain – from growers to suppliers to retailers – to share food origin details, processing data and shipping information on a permissioned blockchain network. Each node on the blockchain is controlled by a separate entity, and all data on the blockchain is encrypted. The decentralized features of the network enable all parties to work together to ensure the data is trusted.
As one of the largest and most active enterprise blockchain networks in production to date, IBM Food Trust members pioneered a comprehensive governance model for the network to help ensure that the rights and information of all participants will be managed and protected appropriately. The governance model ensures every member abides by the same set of rules. Organizations that upload data continue to own the data, and the data owner is the only one that can provide permission for data to be seen or shared. Important blockchain network management considerations have been addressed, including data entry, membership, interoperability and security and hardware requirements, while providing a consistent way to standardize data.
Participants can select from three IBM Food Trust software-as-a-service modules with pricing that is scaled for small, medium and global enterprises, beginning at $100 USD per month.