The grocery industry on blockchain

The grocery industry faces a number of challenges related to the complexity of global supply chains, from logistical hurdles that can lead to food waste and difficult product recalls, to siloed information on the origins and quality of food products that makes it difficult to address growing consumer demand for transparency.

More than 50%

of the grocery sector’s economic profit disappeared between 2012 and 2017 due to rising operating costs and fierce competition making it impossible to raise prices.

Source: McKinsey


of Americans surveyed said they would pay up to 36% more for products that are responsibly made and transparently sourced.

Source: Amway

More than 40%

of food waste in industrialized countries occurs at the retail and consumer level.

Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Building consumer demand and brand trust

The Consumer module shares the journey of grocery items, along with product details and sourcing information. Connect shoppers to specific, permissioned information that helps influence buying decisions, such as origin, ingredients, quality and sustainability practices.

Streamlining the grocery supply chain and reducing food waste

Our Insights capabilities module can provide near real-time supply chain data, including information on temperature and product movement. Leveraging blockchain and IoT technology, Insights capabilities can support grocery operations through improved shelf life, reduced waste, and optimized inventory management and product rotation.

Providing proof of origin and accelerated tracing

The Trace module enables end-to-end supply chain visibility, cutting the time needed to track a food source from days to seconds. Know the provenance of food supplies and their status to mitigate spread of contamination and prevent waste in the case of a food borne illness outbreak.

Establishing proof of origin and preventing mislabeling

The Documents module allows users to upload, manage, edit and share any documents along the supply chain. Improve information management, certify provenance, ensure authenticity and demonstrate production standards.

Use case

Empowering a global retail giant to enhance consumer trust by investing in best practices

As a major industry player with a large global footprint, Carrefour is always looking for new ways to improve customer service and streamline operations. Providing comprehensive and detailed information about the nature and origin of their products not only sets them apart from the competition, it also enables them to build trust and drive demand with their more than 100 million customers worldwide who are becoming more invested in knowing as much as possible about the quality and sourcing of their groceries.

By partnering with IBM Food Trust, Carrefour is able to leverage blockchain to provide unprecedented transparency to consumers about their food’s journey. Shoppers can scan a QR code on the food label or packaging with their smartphones and access information permissioned for consumers such as date of harvest, location of cultivation, when it was packed, safety tests and certifications, and even tips on how to prepare it. Carrefour told Reuters in June 2019 that it had implemented this initiative with a growing number of products, including chicken, eggs, milk, oranges, pork, cheese and more.

Carrefour has seen sales boosted by the use of blockchain ledger technology to track meat, milk and fruit from farms to stores and will extend it to more products to increase shopper trust. Carrefour’s blockchain project manager Emmanuel Delema notes, “You are building a halo effect—‘If I can trust Carrefour with this chicken, I can also trust Carrefour for their apples or cheese.’”

Walmart has also discovered the power of blockchain and is now using IBM Food Trust to trace the movement of groceries across its supply chain.

See how you can trace food safety and provenance

Watch webinar: Boosting confidence in our food supply

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