As consumers become increasingly aware of (some would even call it obsessed with) the origin, ingredients, health benefits, and authenticity of fresh and manufactured food products, the pressure to make detailed, reliable, and validated information available or even mandatory on all product labels is increasing — especially in the European Union.
While some food producers might belittle the consumers' demand to know more about the food they consume, the majority is racing to figure out how to get it all done without adding more resources and more steps in an already very complex and expensive supply chain.
To encourage and inspire you, we want to tell you three game-changing applications of blockchain in the food supply chain that will change the world:
Using Blockchain To Prevent Olive Oil Fraud
Did you know that the olive oil industry is worth $1.5 billion in the United States alone — yet an astonishing 70% of the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is not what it claims to be?
In the best case scenario, the olive oil comes from Spain, Tunisia, or Morocco but is sold as "Italian Olive Oil" simply because it is bottled there. But more often than not, a lower-quality virgin olive oil is cut with cheaper oils, such as soybean oil. Or, in the worst case scenario, a manufacturer mixes a few drops of chlorophyll (for color) and beta-carotene (for flavor) into a seed oil that tastes and smells similar to olive oil. It is plain and simple fraud.
And since this has been common practice for so long, even olive oil experts cannot tell the difference by taste alone. How can consumers know that what they are doling out hard-earned cash for is the real deal?
Olive oil producers Oleocano and Rurápolis, a rural development consulting firm, and IBM Spain have partnered in an initiative called Olive Trace that allows consumers, olive growers, oil producers, packers, and exporters to trace olive oil across the entire supply chain — starting at the harvest all the way to the supermarket shelf using blockchain technology. This will also include the certification process and is aimed to increase the consumers' trust by allowing this level of transparency and traceability.
One Dutch Chocolate Manufacturer Aims To Eradicate Child Slavery
Did you know that it takes 700 beans to make one pound of chocolate? You might also know that about 70% of the world's chocolate originates from small, family-owned cocoa farms in West Africa — an estimated 1.5 million of them.
But what many of us don't know is that 2.3 million children work in the cocoa fields of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire like slaves because farmers receive below-poverty incomes for their beans, creating a poverty trap leading to child labor and modern slavery.
While large chocolate manufacturers admit to using child slavery in their supply chain and promised to rectify the situation since 2001, an Amsterdam-based chocolate company, Tony Chocoloney, is setting out to make chocolate entirely slave-free.
The company is setting a new industry standard by laying out five sourcing principles, such as premiums, to allow a living income for cocoa farmers and full traceability across a very complex supply chain. This is supported and tracked through a blockchain-based solution called Beantracker which traces the cocoa from the bean to the finished chocolate bar across the entire supply chain.
Sustainable Tuna Fishing — Traceable From Bait To Plate
Tuna fishing has had a bad reputation for more than a decade now — and rightfully so. The often-used longline fishing has the largest bycatch rate (28%) of any fishing method, which leads to sharks, dolphins, mahi mahi, and other fish being caught unintentionally. Due to over-fishing, bigeye and yellowfin tuna are becoming rare in some regions. Piracy fishing (illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities) additionally aggravates the problem.
Bumble Bee, one of the leading seafood companies in North America, has joined the fight for sustainable fishing by partnering with SAP Blockchain to trace its Natural Blue yellowfin tuna product from "bait to plate."
Tony Costa, the CIO of Bumble Bee Foods, says this about the initiative: "We’re working with a number of partners, including the Indonesian government, suppliers, processors, and NGOs like Fair Trade USA, to trace our tuna from its source in Indonesia to the store in the U.S." After visiting the Ampera Village on Indonesia’s Seram Island, he recounted his experiences with the local fisher men: “When the fishermen return with their catch, the village comes out to celebrate. The fish are taken to the local buying post, where the blockchain begins.”
These are just a few stories of amazing companies that challenged their food supply chain to make a global impact on their respective industries. But stories like these have a massive ripple effect. At Chainvu, we believe we are so close to a massive tidal shift in not only consumer demands but, on the flip side, in participants in the food supply chain realizing the massive competitive advantage that comes with fulfilling these demands. Over the next few months, we will continue to gather inspirational stories like these and share them with you.