Food logistics on blockchain

Shepherding food along a global supply chain is no easy feat. From the incredible complexity of highly fragmented transportation networks to the demanding mechanical requirements of properly storing food for long journeys, logistics and distribution companies face many critical challenges.


of the world’s food is lost after harvesting and before reaching retail

Source: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


of all foods transported in the cold chain are wasted each year due to breaches in integrity causing temperature fluctuations and product degradation.

Source: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, “The Logistics of Global Food Systems”


of consumers want to buy local, meaning food sourced within 150 miles.

Source: Technomic

How can IBM Food Trust help?

IBM Food Trust™ understands the challenges facing the logistics and distribution industry. Our innovative blockchain solutions drive visibility and transparency throughout the entire supply chain and empower seamless communication and collaboration across the ecosystem.

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Reducing food waste and improving perishable food handling in the cold chain

Our Insights capabilities module can provide near real-time supply chain data, including product location and information on temperature throughout transit. Leveraging blockchain and IoT technology, Insights capabilities enable better handling of perishable goods like fruits and vegetables, dairy, and protein, as well as the ability to dynamically optimize inventory management and product rotation.

Providing proof of origin and accelerating tracking

The Trace module enables end-to-end supply chain visibility, cutting the time needed to trace a food source from days to seconds. Know the provenance of food supplies and their status in order to mitigate costly cross-contamination, reduce dangerous foodborne illnesses and prevent waste.

Improving communication between supply chain participants

The Documents module allows users to upload, manage, edit, and share any documents along the supply chain. Improve information management, uphold food handling standards and break down communications silos as food products progress through the supply chain.

Use case

Enabling a major food distributor to assure its customers about hamburger quality and freshness

California-based Golden State Foods (GSF) provides hamburger patties, sausage, produce and an array of other products to the food industry, retail outlets and quick service restaurants around the world. Its customers include 100 brands and, on any given day, its products are served to customers at 120,000 restaurants.

Food safety and quality are core to the company’s internal processes and brand reputation. But tracking exactly what happens to beef from farm to fork in near real-time is not easy for any company. The beef supply chain behind every hamburger is highly segmented, involving ranches, feedlots, packers, processors, distribution centers and restaurants.

Each business keeps its own meticulous records. Software systems designed to connect them, however, typically require a lot of manual inputs, are prone to errors, and encounter inherent delays. And those systems are not designed to track one of the most essential elements in the beef’s journey—the temperature at which it’s kept.

GSF partnered with IBM to pilot a solution that used radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to automatically track fresh beef’s movement through one of its hamburger patty production plants to shipping, to the distribution center and finally delivery to one of three restaurants. IoT devices monitored the temperature at strategic points in the process, and automatically uploaded it to IBM Food Trust’s blockchain, making the data available in near-real time to everyone using it.

GSF’s pilot demonstrated the importance of improved precision and speed in the supply chain, including benefits such as reduction in shipping and labor costs, less waste, higher quality, and improved product rotation management and inventory optimization.

Providing safe, authentic, and sustainable food with IBM Food Trust

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