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Tuesday, 25 July 2017 01:03

Blockchain links into Food Supply Chains: the Future of Food?

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Blockchain is bobbing up in the food business, according to a new research brief, claiming insights on how the tech can drive “efficiency, transparency and trust”.

New research from “Chain Business Insights,” which says it is “an independent research firm” has focused on the “application of blockchain in supply chain management and trade finance".

Its latest research brief, entitled “Blockchain and the Future of Food: Driving Efficiency, Transparency and Trust in Food Supply Chains” is naturally on sale to relevant parties at relevant prices.

We’re told the research “explains how blockchain can help to break down information silos to improve visibility and traceability from the farm to the table".

Ken Cottrill, co-founder and research principal at Chain Business Insights, explained: “The food supply chain comprises countless players that are functionally and geographically diverse.

“Many of these entities are largely unaware of each other, and have very different commercial agendas. This fragmented structure inhibits the free flow of information up and down the supply chain.”

The company explains that “a perfect storm of global supply- and demand-side forces is reshaping the market for food products and their supply chains.”

Among them?

Just some are:

  • population growth,
  • the AgTech boom,
  • depleting natural resources,
  • demographic changes,
  • shifting buying patterns,
  • safety concerns,
  • the war on waste,
  • the fight against fraud, and
  • tighter regulations.

We are told that “the way food is consumed defines the overall structure of the supply chains that deliver it,” and thus “Blockchain and the Future of Food first focuses on the midsection of the foodservice supply chain".

“It begins with food manufacturers (that receive the raw materials from producers such as farms and fisheries), and ends with the venues that serve food to consumers. This is where the complexities of the supply chain and the rivalries of its stakeholders are especially apparent.”

The research brief further explains how “the traditional retail channel, where consumers buy food products from retailers and prepare meals in the home, differs from the foodservice channels. It also discusses how the rapid growth of online channels in the food business is adding new demands to the supply chain.”

Peter Harris, co-founder and research principal at Chain Business Insights, notes that: “Clearly, the food business is undergoing far-reaching change.

“These changes coupled with long standing structural issues, pose challenges that lend themselves to blockchain-based supply chain solutions.”

Driven by the substantial global business opportunity, we are told that “several vendors are targeting blockchain-based innovations in the food supply chain".

“Blockchain and the Future of Food contains profiles of 13 companies — from large firms to start-ups — that are already engaged in a proof of concept in the food industry. Some of this work will likely come to fruition over the next year, but the widespread adoption of blockchain in the food industry is further away.”

Sherree DeCovny, co-founder and research principal at Chain Business Insights, concludes: “Despite the obstacles of implementing blockchain, we believe that the food industry and its supporting supply chains represent one of the most important applications of the technology.

“Given the potential benefits and promise offered by blockchain-based applications, we believe that it’s not a question of whether they will be implemented, but when.”

More detail here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.