TECHNOLOGY

This is the newest retailer to adopt blockchain

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Carrefour is adopting blockchain as a way to ensure safety and traceability of its fresh foods.

The hypermarket operator is the newest company to adopt the IBM Food Trust, a blockchain-based cloud network that manages data to support greater traceability, transparency and efficiency to all members of the food industry, including retailers, suppliers, and growers. Initially, Carrefour will apply blockchain to “a number” of private label products, then will expand the technology to all Carrefour brands worldwide by 2022, according to the company.

Blockchain can quickly trace food back to its source in as little as 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, which contributes to an immutable single version of the truth.

“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 favor of the food transition.”

Other food companies joining with Carrefour include Topco Associates, LLC, and retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern.

The companies will join efforts already underway by Walmart. Last month, the discount giant sent letters to lettuce suppliers requiring them to join the IBM Food Trust initiative. The mandate requires suppliers to capture digital, end-to-end traceability event information using blockchain technology, a move that will enable them to trace their products back to farms, by production lot, in seconds.

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