The concept of food traceability – tracking the journey of food from its origin to the consumer – is a requirement in the food industry to prevent food fraud and ensure public health. Ensuring food safety, which guarantees that food does not harm consumers, is both a responsibility of manufacturers and a right of consumers.
Importance of Food Traceability in the Current Context
In recent years, food traceability has evolved from being a mere norm to a demand from consumers. People now seek more transparent and sustainable processes, especially after experiencing events such as the pandemic and the evident effects of climate change. The focus on health and environmental protection has become a priority for many.
Similarly, the pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean has influenced consumer preferences towards local products over imported ones. This preference emerged as a way to support households affected by the pandemic and boost each country’s economy.
Today’s consumers want to know where their food comes from and if companies fulfill their promises. All of this happens in an energy crisis and rising prices of essential goods.
Applying Blockchain Technology to Food Traceability
In simple terms, Blockchain is a decentralized and shared database that records and verifies transactions across a network of computers through consensus. Each node in the network stores a copy of the data, which is cryptographically protected and cannot be modified.
Blockchain technology represents a paradigm shift in food traceability. It can guarantee the traceability of a product, from its origin to the final consumer, by reading QR codes on product labels. It enables the connection of all stakeholders involved in the supply chain – producers, distributors, and consumers – facilitating the flow of information. Products themselves carry the data, providing them with a unique identity.
Use Cases of Blockchain for Food Traceability
Several technologies are being incorporated to address the challenges in the food industry regarding quality, safety, prevention, and transparency. Blockchain technology has proven to be a valuable asset in ensuring security, immutability, and trust.
Let’s explore some common applications:
Blockchain to Ensure Origin
More and more companies are using Blockchain technology to guarantee the origin and traceability of their raw materials. For example, Sabores Sierra de Madrid, a meat product company in Spain, applies SigneBlock’s Blockchain technology to digitize the traceability of their beef chorizo. This digitalization allows them to certify their entire production process and validate their certifications.
Blockchain to Combat Fraud
Food fraud, which involves intentionally substituting or altering a product to reduce costs and gain an unfair advantage, poses risks to public health and the environment. One common form of food fraud is improper labeling, where information is altered, or the actual ingredients are misrepresented.
In Latin America, there are examples such as selling fish under a different name in Peru or using fake labels to misrepresent the geographical origin of wine in Chile. Blockchain technology, combined with food authentication, can verify the accuracy of food labeling, ensuring that the information has not been modified.
For a comprehensive overview of Blockchain in the agri-food sector in Latin America and the world, visit Ratingperson.
Blockchain to Connect with the End Consumer
With Blockchain technology, companies can provide end consumers with the information they consider necessary to certify their processes. By scanning a QR code on their mobile devices, customers can access product history while in a supermarket. This information may include details such as place of origin, harvest date, product weight, composition, and expiration dates. It can also provide transportation details, such as temperature, transit time, refrigeration, customs clearance, and storage duration. Additionally, certifications related to high quality, treatment, sustainability, and eco-labels may be displayed.
Blockchain to Add Value
Contrary to what some may believe, sharing information in the food sector enhances value propositions. For customers seeking process transparency and responsible consumption, having access to food information from farm to table is a definite advantage when choosing one product over another.
Blockchain technology applied to food traceability can serve as a marketing strategy from various aspects. It can incorporate data related to customer needs and preferences or improve the reputation of a company, ultimately fostering customer loyalty.
In Conclusion: Blockchain and Food Traceability
The introduction of Blockchain enables an interconnected food industry that facilitates traceability throughout the entire food production process. This connection, from origin to final destination, helps reduce fraud and benefits consumers. It allows for intelligent auditing to make preventive decisions, compliance with regulations and certifications, and real-time access to detailed product information. Consumers can verify, through product labels, that what they purchase is what it claims to be. All of this emphasizes good agricultural practices, sustainability, animal welfare, food safety, and nutritional value, leading to customer satisfaction.
GOUZE: Accessible Blockchain for Your Food Industry
Applying Blockchain technology may seem complex, but with GOUZE, our ready-to-use Blockchain traceability platform, it becomes as simple as implementing it. GOUZE empowers you in the 4.0 industry and provides access to this transformative technology.
Learn more about GOUZE here and feel free to ask any questions to assist you.