Applications and Use Cases

Albertsons the Latest to Join IBM's Blockchain-based Food Trust Network

April 12, 2019

Supermarket giant Albertsons is the latest retail grocer to get on board with IBM’s Food Trust Network and will be using the blockchain-based system to more efficiently track its food products from farm to shelf.  It joins more than 80 brands, including food suppliers and retailers, that are leveraging the technology to ensure food safety, such as Walmart, Carrefour, Shop Rite parent company Wakefern, Kroger, McCormick, Nestle, Tyson, and others.
The recent tainted Romaine lettuce situation was only one of several food contamination issues that have put a spotlight on the need for better traceability of food products from their points of origination through the entire supply chain.    IBM’s Food Trust is one of the best and fastest-growing successful blockchain projects, considering the number of company’s taking advantage of the solution.
“Multiple high-profile consumer advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration demonstrate the need to find more efficient ways of tracing products and identifying likely sources of contamination in a timely manner,” said Jerry Noland, VP of Food Safety & Quality Assurance, Albertsons Companies. 
That demand for improved infrastructure to increase quality control has driven a high level of interest in IBM’s Food Trust, which increases transparency and collaboration, reducing reaction time if safety concerns arise.  In fact, the solution can cut the time to trace problems back to their sources to as little as 2.2 seconds, from a week or more, according to IBM.
The blockchain-based platform creates a system of record for any food transactions that is transparent to all participants and allows them to share immutable data to trace and authenticate products at any point along the supply chain.  From picking to processing to packaging to shipping to stocking, all information is digitally stored in the Food Trusts distributed ledger platform.  Participants are thus able to isolate problems and optimize process to eliminate points of failure or weakness. 
“We are focused on ensuring that the solution scales and is accessible to participants across the food ecosystem,” said Raj Rao, General Manager, IBM Food Trust.  “By bringing more members into the network and enabling them to share greater cross-sections of data in a secured environment, we believe our vision of a transformed food ecosystem using blockchain is closer than ever.”
IBM’s Chief Innovation Officer Ben Amaba sees projects like Food Trust as part of a new business model that builds networks of value through connecting different participants in an ecosystem to increase efficiency, trust, and of course revenue.  So, as more players in the food supply ecosystem become part of the Food Trust network, the view of the entire lifecycle of food products grows wider, generating greater assurances that processes are meeting standards and, should situations arise, they can be very quickly contained.  It’s why many current members are advising – or even mandating – their supply chain partners also join the network to increase trust in the end-to-end ecosystem.  Today, more than five million food products found on retail shelves are part of this digital network.

Edited by Erik Linask



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