Blockchain in the food and beverage industry
Reading time: 6 mins
Blockchain is a disruptive way to handle information. In its essence, blockchain is a distributed record where digital assets creation and exchange are stored.
Table of contents
Information in technological transition
Much has been written about what organisations should do to approach to 4.0 Industry and technological transition. However when related terms come under analysis (Big Data, IoT, blockchain, etc.) there are the same questions to solve:
- How much information can be recorded and which kind of information must be.
- How can information be transmitted and stored.
- What kind of exploitation can users do with that information?
- How acquiring skills, operation planning and failure prevention should be determined.
Organisations capacity to record, store and treat manufacturing process information has come to be a profitable tool. Using that tool permits the strategic advantage of being aware at real time the level of performance achieved on resources usage, costs, sales, etcetera.
However in certain areas, as food industry, data recording and recovering capability are, furthermore, compulsory by law.
Blockchain for beginners
Blockchain is an information storage technology that falls out with traditional systems. Traditional data storage services are based in the principle that information is uploaded to a concrete point and there is where it is kept. In general, that is to say that there are only one or very few spots where all digital data are stored and users get access to that single point to manage their data.
In blockchain platforms there is no central point meant as origin and destiny for data traffic. Instead of this, packages (or blocks) have shared information of each platform user. Platforms can be public, semiprivate or private what is relevant to determine user’s permission to access and treat different levels of data, where lower permissions would access determined data section and highest permission would access the whole.
Data integrity and blockchain
Once data are uploaded to a blockchain platform it turns virtually impossible to modify without alerting the other members of the chain. Inalterability is the most important value which defines blockchain stored information. Therefore data uploaded to the platform remains inviolable.
Stored records can’t be compromised in front of breach attempts because their information is distributed among all the blocks of the chain. Every block shares data packages with the rest of the chain. The rest of the blocks are witnesses and guarantors on information’s integrity. That is to say, once something is uploaded to a blockchain platform it can’t be modified without noticing the rest of the chain.
Blockchain and food industry’s traceability
Food chain operators are obliged to maintain traceability of their products, in other words, they must preserve those essential data to be able to trace their products with no kind of doubt according to:
- Where their products go, concerning primary producers.
- Manufacturers and packagers: From where ingredients and auxiliary products proceed and where are their batches addressed.
- Retailers must know the origin of those products marketed.
Food chain traceability is one of the spearheads of each food safety management system. The main differences lie on the means producers, manufacturers and retailers use to trace concrete batches in a meaningful way.
Information reliability shouldn’t be undervalued. To this respect, blockchain guarantees that once a record is uploaded, it becomes part of all the blocks’ shared information and it is absolutely impossible to alter it unilaterally.
In addition to data trust, TRAZABLE also solves the human factor which is likely to make mistakes on data recording. TRAZABLE eases relevant data acquisition from client’s system, and introduces them into the platform integrating current tools.
Information quality and authenticity are the key issues that difference the capability to avoid non-conforming products reach the stores. Conversely, managing complete product withdrawal puts up with added consequences:
- Brand image’s perception can result damaged for both client (retailer) and final consumer.
- Withdrawal itself implies financial cost to afford logistics.
- Waste disposal expense of withdrawn products.
Emergency response promptness
True and effective traceability has to be able to beat two main barriers linked to the way information is achieved:
- Encoding heterogeneity along food supply chain.
- Compatibility of the mediums used to store and manage information.
These both are the issues which are conditioning response speed that in the best occasions is counted by hours. TRAZABLE and blockchain integration of data, food chain can be traced in just some seconds. The amount of time needed to traceability results the difference among an anecdotal experience from a severe public health issue.
Both public policies and private standards are focused on finding out methods to prevent and, above all, detect food and beverage fraud. On the one hand it is due to million euros loss for food sector, on the other hand it is because of public health protection.
As providers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers take part in a blockchain platform as TRAZABLE, it is virtually impossible that food fraud can occur along that specific food chain.
Supply network control permits ranges of competence enough to offer producers, clients and consumers endurable and profitable mutual trust relationships.
Blockchain applied to B2B dynamics can provide immediate information provision what is an added value. However it doesn’t mean that platform users must expose widely their data, quite to the contrary corporation’s information is protected and it’s only shared under determined conditions.
TRAZABLE bases its blockchain platform on each and every partner’s data protection. Members can only access those agreed records which have the unique purpose traceability.
Corporate proactivity, fraud relief and blockchain
Consumers’ concern is growing quickly to the point that the amount and variety of purchasing criteria are increasing and evolving to match multiple requisites and realities. Decision making procedures now include queries about how food is produced, where its origin is and how corporations contribute to make their environment better.
Channels used by producers to communicate with their consumers are still under evolution and they’re going to add those innovations which can reveal added value to their products.
TRAZABLE offers companies an app to interact with costumers, giving them valuable information about the food provenance.
At this juncture, brands’ proactivity could be interpreted as organisations willingness to offer clients and consumers valuable information before they would ask or even realise that they need to know it. This is the way food chain can add clear and true transparency which brings about positive perception from all actors whether they are clients, consumers or even authorities.