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Blockchain in the food industry

11 Mar 2019   #Bitcoin

From a farm to your plate: Blockchain applications in the food industry

Blockchain technology has already found countless potential applications in pretty much every existing industry out there. Of course, in some cases, there are issues, such as the current state of the technology not being up to the task. In other cases, many would argue that the current systems do not require a switch to the blockchain. However, there are a few blockchain applications that can truly make a difference, and the use of blockchain in the food industry is one such example.

Blockchain in the food industry

The fact that blockchain technology is needed in the food industry is already confirmed by the fact that its usage is gaining more ground all the time, as consumer and producer awareness of the technology continues to grow. In consumers' case, it is easy why they would be interested in the blockchain — by gaining the ability to track food, they would make sure that they only purchase the freshest and healthiest groceries.

The information regarding food would be transparent, and consumers would no longer have to rely on trust in their grocery shops. Instead, they would be able to see the facts for themselves. Meanwhile, businesses would be able to reduce the number of incidents regarding fraud, human error, or hardware errors of traditional systems.

Additionally, farmers and smaller food producers would be able to stand out and have their products sold to grocery shops, which is something that they are struggling with because of larger corporations.

With that in mind, it appears that blockchain is a perfect solution for everyone involved. It is becoming more and more recognized as a tool that brings transparency, and as a consequence — greater quality. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the implementation of blockchain might bring greater prices of products. This may seriously disrupt the marginal gains, all the way down to producers themselves. However, this can also be resolved by policies and regulations.

Just last year, FAO proposed a policy paper that shows how blockchain technology can provide contracts between various actors within the supply chain in the food industry. Not only would this remove the unnecessary intermediaries, but it would also improve margins and cut down transaction costs.

Similar improvements to the supply chain were already witnessed in India, and some of the country's largest great-exporting companies have already shown interest in the blockchain, as it can improve the transparency even further. Meanwhile, all blockchain entries remain immutable, and records regarding food production and origin, as well as storage, remain secure, transparent, and true on the shared ledger.

The increased transparency can even allow food producers to add value to their products, as all data will remain traceable. Additionally, even smaller producers can enter smart contracts with product processors and consumers. Thanks to the direct link and no intermediaries in the way, they will also be able to get better prices for their products.

Of course, there are many difficulties and challenges on the way, such as the scalability of technological throughput in transactions, as well as interoperability between the digital and physical aspects. However, these issues will likely be resolved along the way as well, as the potential benefits are worth finding the solutions.

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