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Reinventing Supply Chain in Food Industry

Introduction

The food industries cover several industrial activities directed at the production, processing, conversion, distribution, preparation, preservation, transportation, certification, and packaging of food items. The food industry has become highly diversified, from small, traditional, family-run, highly labor-intensive activities to large, capital-intensive, and highly mechanized industrial processes. No single news agency or media you can go to today does not have a story on the dysfunctional and broken global supply chain. The economic deterioration caused by the pandemic and subsequent disruptions has exposed vulnerabilities in supply chains and left many questions about what supply chains of the future days will look like. Supply chains will never be the same as it is now. That answer may be unsettling, but at the end of the day, those vulnerabilities were always there and needed to be addressed. Unfortunately, it took a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic and other extreme disruptions to garner the much-needed attention.

Blockchain developers are working hard to reinvent a new and better supply chain and help businesses change how they operate, improve performance, boost sales, become more cost-competitive, minimize risk and improve operational resilience. They achieve this by deploying a set of strategic and operational assets that combine operational and industry consulting capabilities to help deliver business benefits and superior financial results.

The Problems that Exists in the Traditional Supply Chain Process

Food Fraud

As the global food supply chain system evolves, tampering, misrepresentation, or deliberate substitution has grown significantly. As of today, reports submitted by NSF states that food fraud costs around $49 billion globally every year. The most affected food categories include liquids like milk, tea and coffee, olive oil, maple syrup, seafood, honey, and various other food items. The Chinese Milk Scandal was a severe case in 2008, which led to the death of six babies due to food contamination, and around 54,000 babies were hospitalized in China in the same year. The recent scandal involved infant formula, milk, and various other food components being contaminated with an organic compound, Melamine.

Foodborne Illness

The illness which is caused by taking food is termed a foodborne illness. Out of 600 million people worldwide, 1 in 10 falls sick after having contaminated or adulterated food. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) survey, 420,000 death cases are recorded , yearlyleading to the loss of 33 million healthy life years. Foodborne diseases hinder socioeconomic development by burdening the healthcare system, affecting trade and tourism and national economies.

Illegal Production

In the supply chain, Seafood is one of the popular categories with crisp reports of illicit production. Illegitimate and inappropriate production of food items leads to economic loss as well as infectious diseases. The fishing industry deals with the challenges related to unreported, unregulated, and illegal fishing. A report published in the Journal of Marine Policy reported that 24-36%, amounting to 2.15 million tons of wild seafood imported to Japan in 2015, which were valued between $1.6 to $2.4 billion, were of the unreported origin or illegal production.

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Food recalls

Government agencies request food recall to discover the presence of any potential allergen in the food items. Performing food recalls frequently can cost the food industry. A survey was conducted in 2010 by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), and it was pronounced that the average cost of a food recall is about $10 million. Renowned brands like Pepsi, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Blue Bell Creameries, Cadbury, Nestle, and the Peanut Corporation of America have already suffered losses due to withdrawals and recall from the market in the last few years.

Blockchain as a Potential Solution

Supply chain management was easy initially, and it was very common to the people. Supply chains have become incredibly complex in the present day due to various reasons. Today's businesses are becoming globalized, and there is an urgent need to have reliable and efficient supply chain management strategies. The blockchain, which was only for cryptocurrencies, has recently started proving its prominent applications in other facets of life, such as exchange, contract, tracking payment, etc. From warehouse to delivery and payment, Blockchain has the potential to bring efficiency and transparency all throughout supply chains.

How Blockchain Technology Could Transform the Food Industry

In addition to other sectors, a blockchain development company can help work to build the new applications for supply-chain using blockchain technology. While some people say cryptocurrencies are a fraud, others just believe them to be the next biggest economic revolution the world has seen. Bitcoin has brought the light blockchain technology, which offers great potential for food safety and verification in the agri-food sector.
Blockchain technology is a versatile way of storing and sharing information across a network of users in an open virtual space. Blockchain technology allows users to look at all transactions simultaneously and in real-time as well. Since transactions are not stored in any designated place, it is almost impossible to hack the information by the high-tech hacker even. Blockchain technology can make a difference for consumers. By scanning a simple QR code with a gadget or smartphone, information like an animal's date of birth, use of antibiotics, vaccinations, and also the location where the livestock was harvested can easily be conveyed to the consumer.

How Does a Food Supply Blockchain Work?

Blockchain's capability of tracking ownership records and tamper resistance can be used to solve urgent issues such as food fraud, safety recalls, supply chain inefficiency, and food traceability in the current food system.

Farmers Could Store the Information about Food Crops on the Blockchain

It is going to be very easy to trade when a farmer can save details of grown-up crops like origination, type of crop, the procedure used for sowing, storage info, and so on using the mobile app or center location on the blockchain. The information stored by farmers could be accessible by all involved stakeholders within the system. Farmers can also upload pictures of crops that are processed through Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to help refineries or factories make informed decisions about the quality of a crop. The regulations built within the smart contracts ensure that compliance is met while feeding the data on the blockchain. Once the crops are grown up, the farmers distribute them to the food processing companies or refineries for further processing.

Food Processors always add the Processing Details on the Blockchain System.

After receiving food items directly from the farmers in the ground, refineries or food processing companies can bid for the crops through a smart contract. Once the bid is accepted, they could start processing those food items and storing the data related to the crops on the public blockchain so that it remains available. Data preserved on the blockchain system could help consumers as well as the retailers to verify the food. As the regulations are added to the smart contracts, food compliance is followed in every step of processing.

Wholesalers Would Bid for the Processed Products Through Smart Contracts

Refining companies could put the processed items for bidding after processing the food items. Once the processing companies accept the bid, they would transport the processed food to the wholesalers and update transportation details on the blockchain. Wholesalers could easily start bidding through the smart contract. The wholesaler could then hire the service providers to distribute the selected items to different retailers. Transporting processed food through IoT-enabled vehicles or trucks could help to keep the food items safe under a certain temperature. The sensors built in the IoT vehicles being used for transportation could send the latest information related to the temperature of food items and their current location to the blockchain. It could help retailers to monitor food items they are going to receive.

End Consumers Could Ensure if the Food They are Having is Safe to Eat or Not

With the help of blockchain, a consumer could quickly decide if he or she should buy a specific food item or not. From source to destination, the information such as farm origin details, batch numbers, transportation details, factory and processing data, storage temperature, expiration details, and other details can be linked digitally to the food items within the supply chain blockchain. All stakeholders validate every piece of information captured during each transaction in the network to form a consensus. After validating every block, it is added to the entire chain of transactions, creating an immutable and permanent record. An end-consumer could then ensure if the food is safe or not by back tracing the food items from the supply chain blockchain. Moreover, the government auditors could also perform audit checks on the cost and quality of the crops quickly through the records stored in the supply chain blockchain. Once it is clear that different stakeholders could be able to access every piece of information related to food items at every stage, the quality of food items could never be compromised.

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Food Supply Chain Blockchain Could Offer the following Benefits

Now, let's discuss what could be the benefits of the blockchain supply chain across the entire food supply chain. Food companies can use the blockchain system to inculcate transparency in the supply chain system. Blockchain has the ability to add an extra layer of security to the food industry.

Food Traceability

The food industry as a whole is vulnerable to making mistakes that would affect human lives. Foodborne diseases always threaten public health; the first step to root-cause analysis is to track down the source of contamination. Subsequently, traceability is very crucial for the food supply chain. Blockchain can ensure that each player along the food value chain would create and share data points in creating an accountable and traceable system. Present communication system within the food ecosystem makes traceability a time-consuming task since some involved parties are still tracking information on paper. The record of food items, from farm to table, is available to monitor in real-time.

Transparency

The present communication system within the food ecosystem makes traceability a time-consuming task since some involved parties are still tracking information on paper. From production to the sale of a food item, everything can be recorded on the blockchain to get rid of any food frauds or food recalls. As the data captured at every step is accessible to everyone within the network, blockchain can help bring transparency to the supply chain.

Efficiency

Blockchain can very well improve the standard of transportation. By maintaining every digital record of the transaction, blockchain could overcome inaccuracies caused by traditional paper-based records. In case of any food recall or investigation, the process could be carried out seamlessly as blockchain offers end-to-end traceability.

Secure and Quick Transactions

It is possible to transfer the information in a matter of minutes through blockchain. Once the data is validated, it is replicated on various networks to take care of its security. The function of blockchain ensures that each one along the food value chain would generate and share data points to practice a traceable system. It is going to help to maintain the check and balance.

Food Safety

Blockchain could bring considerable progress in food safety by saving lives and cutting down costs. Since the permanent records of information are maintained on the blockchain, there are fewer chances of contamination incidents.

We Can Help You Build Supply Chain in Food Industry with Us

If you are interested to learn more about how blockchain can be helpful in the supply chain or use blockchain to revolutionize your business supply chain, our blockchain development firm can be of help. Our focus in building supply-chain solutions is on the improvement of system efficiency, which is achieved through proper IoT and blockchain integration to prevent losses and ensure accountability throughout the supply chain. By leveraging existing blockchain platforms such as Ethereum or DAG-based platforms like Hedera, companies, and industries can start operating food businesses in new ways. As professional blockchain experts, we take all the hard work away from the table by helping to build and maintain distributed food supply chain networks.

Conclusion

The present supply chain system faces many difficulties, such as low traceability, low flexibility, complex compliance needs, and difficult stakeholder management. Blockchain can create a more efficient, secure, and open platform for eCommerce. This technology can safely and efficiently resolve these issues by providing greater audibility, immutability, and disintermediation. It is going to have a large impact which is going to change the present state of the food supply system.

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