From food to medicine, blockchain technology can track the quality of products from the source to the consumer.
If you are like most shoppers, you probably consume food from a variety of sources such as supermarkets or the occasional farmers market. The freshness of food can range from mass produced to farm-to-table, with many variations in-between.
Despite a push for healthier food consumption, one in six Americans still experience food poisoning or a foodborne illness in a given year. Additionally, online grocery sales are expected to capture 20% of the grocery market by 2025 – causing additional concerns with storage, transport, and delivery safety.
Imagine being able to track a contaminated parcel of medicine or food while still in route from its source. Blockchain innovators have arrived to do just this.
Innovator Profile: Ambrosus
Based in Switzerland, Ambrosus is a blockchain-based ecosystem built for supply-chain quality assurance. By using distributed ledgers, Ambrosus aspires to the origin, quality, compliance, and proper handling of food and medicine.
Ambrosus CEO, Angel Versetti, explains, “Every year there are hundreds of thousands of deaths from counterfeit medicine. For the last 10 years, the number of food scandals has been increasing with a number of contaminated, poorly stored or low-quality food cases increasing and tens of billions of dollars to the industry. We are trying to solve this problem.”
Backed by the Swiss government, Ambrosus has raised over $36 million in its current token generation event, with goals of using this money to fuel research & development and their technology for the industry.
Innovator Profile: Wal-Mart
In August 2017, it was announced that Wal-Mart and IBM were exploring ways of applying blockchain technology to their food supply chains. A few initiatives of this partnership include trying to maintain secure digital records and improve traceability of perishable foods.
Like Ambrosus, Wal-Mart hopes to improve on the response time of foodborne illnesses from weeks to just a matter of seconds. This is the power of blockchain technology. Following a few successful beta tests of the technology, other industry giants, such as Kroger’s, have acknowledged the importance this technology could have on the grocery industry as well as countless other industries that rely in similar supply-chain infrastructures.
How does a blockchain relate to supply chains?
A blockchain is a continuously growing list of public records (called blocks), which are linked and secured. These blocks can be used to protect the integrity and verifiability of data, tagging and sensor technology, and other supply-chain related safeguards and measurements.
In layman’s terms, parcels could be instantly tracked and verified through a complex system that would transform passive supply-chain components into smart and intelligent systems.
The results would be drastic, as supply-chains would experience a level of quality control and transparency that could potentially help most problems with food and medicine safety. As a result, more lives saved, healthier products, and consistency.