Food Transparency and Traceability

With the IBM Food Trust, suppliers and retailers can trace food across the global supply chain.
Nov 14, 2019 1:35 PM ET

Leafy greens can be traced on the blockchain. As can mashed potatoes, mangoes and most recently, shrimp. They are just some of the products farmers, food producers and retailers worldwide are tracing using IBM Food Trust, the leading blockchain solution for transparency and traceability within the global food supply chain. More than 50 companies have signed on to work with the trust.

Using IBM blockchain technology running on the IBM Cloud, the Food Trust connects growers, processors, distributors and retailers through a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food-system data that can drastically cut the time needed to trace produce from farm to store, or inform a consumer on where their food came from. In a pilot program, tracing time was reduced from almost seven days to just 2.2 seconds.

The Food Trust ecosystem connects supply chains like Walmart’s and also those of other major retailers and global companies such as Carrefour, Dole, Golden State Foods, Driscoll’s and Nestlé — all without sharing any information they have not chosen to share.

As more companies adopt a digital, end-to-end traceability protocol, the IBM Food Trust’s goal is to help make the world’s food supply safer — something that is sorely needed.

Ed Treacy, vice president of Supply Chain and Sustainability at the Produce Marketing Association, believes blockchain can transform how the food industry works. “It can help by speeding up investigations into contaminated food, authenticating the origin of food and providing insights about the conditions and pathway through which the food traveled,” he says. “This will help identify opportunities to maximize shelf life and reduce losses due to spoilage.”

Learn more in IBM's 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report