Food Logistics August 2018

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SECTOR REPORTS SOFTWARE & TECHNOLOGY

BY PRATIK SONI

BLOCKCHAIN

AND PROACTIVE PLANNING “B With a more extensive and complex supply chain, the food and beverage industry is poised to benefit from blockchain technology.

lockchain is the Next Big Thing.” “Companies Need to Start Taking Advantage of Blockchain.” “Blockchain is Set to Revolutionize Your Industry.” Almost every day, there is a new headline proclaiming blockchain technology as the next major disruptive force. From healthcare and finance to government and—of course—food and beverage, its hype is building in numerous industry conversations. However, like most new, hyped-up technologies, there can be confusion or misconceptions in the marketplace. Thus, even though company leaders, including those at major food and beverage companies, recognize blockchain can be a beneficial investment, they can be hesitant to adopt and deploy it across their organizations.

Challenges to Solve Blockchain was originally developed in 2009 by Bitcoin inventor and cryptocurrency pioneer, Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto came up with the concept of blockchain as a public, digital ledger to track the exchange of Bitcoins among those in its network. These transactions are saved in cryptographic No one can blocks—hence where the alter any record technology gets its name. of a transaction No one can alter any without record of a transaction changing without changing all of all of the the subsequent blocks. subsequent Any alteration requires blocks.” consensus from the rest of the network. As a result, blockchain generates greater transparency and trust among all parties connected within the network.

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Naturally, the financial and transactional history of the technology has led to its growing adoption in the banking industry. However, its secure and transparent nature has peaked interest from industries that have long been plagued by challenges in data silos, disconnects among disparate individuals and organizations, and the numerous movements of commodities among them. For instance, the healthcare industry has struggled with the proper sharing and storage of medical data and records. With countless patients, doctors’ offices, hospitals and insurance providers located around globe, there is high potential for error, fraud and lost records, which has created distrust among patients and healthcare providers. Blockchain technology can help rebuild that trust by storing medical records in a secure network that can only be accessed by the connected patients and authorized healthcare providers. Likewise, the food and beverage industry has been challenged by an extensive supply chain, stretching

from raw material and ingredient suppliers, production and food preparation sites, warehouses and distribution centers, transportation, and all the way down to the retail level—and back. With so many disparate links in the supply chain—often each one using its own systems to manage the processing and movement of goods—it makes it difficult to properly address many critical aspects of the food business. This includes meeting consumer demand, abiding by the FDA’s food compliance and handling regulations, mitigating food recalls, and managing the replenishment and shelf life of products.

Preventable Loss Blockchain can provide food and beverage manufacturers a way to digitize every step that a product takes in the supply chain in a permanent, connected ledger. These records are centralized for all parties within the value chain, from a grain supplier to the grocery-store shelf. This can be critical in today’s marketplace, where more consumers www.foodlogistics.com

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