From supply chains to trading, blockchain picks a go-to solution to every major bottleneck springing up in the food industry.
Today we gathered real-life blockchain use cases along with the possible scenarios of blockchain usage for food and nutrition.
Food Quality Control
Blockchain technology is already used for provenance tracking purposes in many industries. Food quality in public institutions and on store shelves still remains a contentious issue, so blockchain implementation in the food sector was just a question of time.
One of the solutions is devery.io, a platform that provides “digital identities” for each product. The records of product IDs are stored on a shared and unalterable ledger so that users could trace back the entire history of each product purchased or each meal eaten (provided that it’s recorded on the network).
Unique identifiers guarantee the legitimacy of food supplies, covering the entire flow, from manufacturing to licensing.
Devery.io is now jointly working with the UN World Food Programme for tracking the quality of school meals in Tunisia with blockchain.
Automated Restaurant Management
Comparatively low wages in the US restaurant industry lead to the decrease of professional cooks in the kitchen and forced inflows of semi-skilled ones. Low skills bring low food quality. Sadly as it sounds but several years ago, 54% of Americans believed that food poisoning in restaurants was more common than at homes.
While it still might take a while to find an appropriate blockchain solution for this problem, Spyce Kitchen meets these challenges with AI. The process of meal preparation is completely automated with robots that do all cook themselves, leaving no space for human error or laziness.
How blockchain could advance this cause? Smart contracts could set the scene for fast and reliable transactions between humans and robots along with the data from sensors securely stored on a blockchain network and serving the purpose of making behaviour-based predictions.
Data Sharing to Drive Commercial Purchases
Companies interested in buying agricultural products might be reluctant to do that because of the lack of the related information, such as salt and sugar content, number of calories, or conditions of storage.
The ripe.io blockchain project deals with this issue by collecting data from IoT sensors, manual reports, and other sources involved in supply chains. The data is recorded on an unchangeable ledger and includes product attributes based on which enterprises can further decide on transportation and storage conditions.
The project was first applied for the first time on the Massachusetts farm where it was used for tracking tomatoes for the Sweetgreen salad chain. Data points, such as air temperature, light, humidity, color, and others, were recorded on the blockchain.
As the result, Sweetgreen could purchase tomatoes for its supply chains without worrying to buy spoilt commodities.
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Why People Throw away Food?
The Guardian claims that Americans waste 150,000 tons of food each day. Food producers lack insights into the reasons for this abnormal behavior due to insufficient data-driven approach to consumers’ buying preferences.
In essence, each part of the process, from production and packaging to labeling and selling, play its role in buying decisions and post-purchase behavior, which is often neglected.
Blockchain could give this necessary insight into buying patterns and give merchants the understanding why consumers throw purchased foods in a trash bin. The records of consumer behavior could be stored on maintainable blockchain database to help food manufacturers make informed production decisions.
Distributed Marketplace for Commodities
Deals conducted on traditional markets between commodity suppliers and food companies in practice imply the presence of third parties. Forced to contact with intermediaries only, farmers often don’t know what are the preferences of their end customers.
Blockchain is designed to eliminate this obstacle by displacing intermediaries. Some real achievements are already taking place. For example, the Avenews-GT Israel company established its blockchain-based exchange where traders and supplies can connect directly.
Success. That is the thing you achieve when you learn from others and teach others. https://t.co/XEcR6V4gW4
— Avenews-GT (@AvenewsGT) February 27, 2019
This way, Rwanda coffee buyers were among the first to harness the benefits of the exchange to find the required coffee growers as well as farmers in South Africa who could easily find alfalfa to feed the cattle.
Valid Food Labeling
Labels on packages often appear to be misleading by telling people what they want to hear — healthy snacks and meals with a minimum content of GMOs. As a result, those who don’t have a scientific expertise in the matters of nutrition just can’t distinguish fake labels from valid ones.
Blockchain could make this environment more “honest”, with all claims recorded on an unalterable ledger. With the appropriate provenance standard that could be specified in a smart contract, food producers would have to conform with those standards, not just drawing people a bright picture and storing the data as is on the ledger.
More Cases to Come
Blockchain has already proven itself as a technology that can radically change the landscape in a variety of industries.
As we can see, the food industry is not the exception to this trend. The number of potential applications can be counted in dozens with further evolvement of this technology.