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IBM Food Trust expands blockchain network

Blockchain allows food to be traced to its source in seconds instead of days or weeks


October 23, 2018
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ARMONK, N.Y. and PARIS—IBM has announced growing adoption of its food supply chain network, IBM Food Trust. The blockchain-based cloud network offers retailers, suppliers, growers and food industry providers with data from across the food ecosystem to enable greater traceability, transparency and efficiency, the company said.

The network is now generally available after 18 months in testing, during which millions of individual food products have been tracked by retailers and suppliers.

The ecosystem of network participants continues to grow, said IBM, and global retailer Carrefour announced it will use the IBM Food Trust blockchain network. Carrefour stores will initially use the solution to highlight consumers’ confidence in several Carrefour products. The solution is expected to expand 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 favour of the food transition.”

Using blockchain for trusted transactions, food can be quickly traced back to its source in 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.

In addition to Carrefour, organizations joining IBM Food Trust include:

  • Cooperative 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 BeefChain, Dennick Fruit Source, Scoular and Smithfield.

Walmart, an early proponent of blockchain technology, also recently announced that it will begin requiring its leafy green suppliers to capture digital, end-to-end traceability event information using IBM Food Trust.