Albertsons applies blockchain technology to food safety
Supermarket conglomerate Albertsons Companies is partnering with IBM to improve traceability in the food supply chain.
Albertsons is joining the blockchain-based IBM Food Trust network and will begin piloting blockchain technology to improve how food is traced from farm to store shelf.
Blockchain is a system of record that establishes a shared environment for transactions. Food Trust enables network members to share digital, distributed and immutable data, so that participants across the supply chain can work together to trace and authenticate products or optimize supply chain processes.
The Food Trust solution creates a digital record of transactions or interactions; from a packaging date, to the temperature at which an item was shipped, to its arrival on a grocery shelf. Built on Hyperledger Fabric-based open source technology, the solution uses permissioning to enable companies to set rules about who can see the data they upload to the solution and for how long, and that they maintain control of their data even after it has been uploaded to Food Trust.
Food Trust members are seeking to leverage blockchain to improve food supply chain performance in areas such as efficiency, freshness, waste reduction, sustainability, and participants’ ability to verify certifications, such as fair trade and organic. More than five million food products digitized on the Food Trust solution are currently on retail shelves.
Albertsons which operates nearly 2,300 stores across the U.S., will pilot Food Trust for tracing bulk romaine lettuce from one of its distribution centers. The company will then expanding blockchain-based supply chain tracing to other food categories throughout its distribution network. Albertsons plans to pilot the solution to help overcome the obstacles that have existed when a traceback is initiated for a product like romaine, and is evaluating ways to use the technology to highlight the provenance of its private label Own Brands portfolio.
“Blockchain technology has the potential to be transformational for us as we further build differentiation on our fresh brand,” said Anuj Dhanda, CIO, Albertsons Companies. “Food safety is a very significant step. In addition, the provenance of the products enabled by blockchain — the ability to track every move from the farm to the customer’s basket — can be very empowering for our customers.”
“Establishing IBM Food Trust and opening it to the food ecosystem last year was a major milestone in making blockchain real for business,” said Raj Rao, GM, IBM Food Trust. “Today, we are focused on ensuring that the solution scales and is accessible to participants across the food ecosystem.”
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