Nestlé, the world’s largest food company and Carrefour, one of France’s biggest supermarket chain, have announced the launch of a blockchain project to provide greater transparency in how food products make it to market.
The companies say they collaborated with IBM through the IBM Food Trust program with the project completed in less than six months.
French residents can now go to any of the 5,360 Carrefour stores and scan a QR code on Mousseline purée (mashed potato) packages.
They will then be able to see the journey of the potatoes from the farm to the shelf with a press release stating they’ll see:
“The potato varieties used, the dates and place of manufacture, information on quality control, and the places and dates of storage before shelving.”
The aim is to provide as much transparency as possible on what goes in your food with the companies claiming this is the first blockchain project launched by a French brand.
A video in French gives a high level view advertising the new features with it likely they’re using Hyperledger.
They provide little detail at a technical level, but the design is probably similar to a number of other blockchain based supply chain projects.
The blockchain aspect is limited in many respects to basically a shared database where information can’t be changed without everyone’s consent once it is entered.
Thus what the farmer, or the truck driver, or the warehouse, puts on the blockchain is in many ways trusted information which probably goes through some quality control or authentication either before or after it is entered on the blockchain.
Such quality control officer verifies the information and likewise enters such verification on the blockchain.
Everyone will then be able to instantly see what information has been entered, with others then able to build on such information by adding new data with everyone sure that no one has changed the information after it has been entered.
It’s basically like sending a paper document around, but in a digital form and with everyone able to see where the document is and what is being done with it or to it.
You then communicate this information to the end customer through some app, allowing him or her to see where their food came from and perhaps even the names of the people that brought it to their supermarket if the project wished to reveal such names.