The grocery supply chain is characterised by many players frequently holding potentially inefficient, manual records.
So, what impact could blockchain have in the grocery industry? Potentially a significant one.
A secure and encrypted digital ledger, blockchain provides a level of transparency that most record systems cannot support and is secured by complex algorithms that cannot be erased or manipulated.
Blockchain is already being used by food suppliers and retailers such as Alibaba alike to increase consumers’ trust in their brand.
The authenticity and quality of products logged using blockchain can be proven, especially if you tie that authenticity stamp to a smart tag for quick reference.
Combine the technology with the Internet of Things and brands can also track the provenance of goods.
For example, the technologies can log the temperature of a mangetout shipment being transported from Kenya to the UK throughout the entire chill chain, with each set of readings linked to each other in chronological order and with non-editable timestamps.
“Blockchain also removes the need for a third-party payment authentication, creating a frictionless process”
This helps improve the quality of goods hitting the shop shelves.
Blockchain also removes the need for a third-party payment authentication, creating a frictionless process, lowering costs and significantly reducing fraudulent interactions.
For grocery suppliers such as farmers, this means they can directly trade with brands.
This removes unnecessary costs paid to banks, making the end cost to brands and consumers more palatable in a very typically low-margin industry.
While a global standardisation for the technology is under way, still needing to be cleared by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), it is inevitable that blockchain will fully infiltrate the grocery sector.
“Building a blockchain strategy will be key for maintaining brand reputation and fighting fraud”
While there may be obstacles to overcomes, such as implementation costs and up-skilling, the long-term benefits far outweigh them.
With consumer expectation for quality and authenticity only set to rise, building a blockchain strategy will be key for maintaining brand reputation and fighting fraud, as well as boosting margins.