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How Blockchain is Helping Grocery & Retail Business

Did you know that 20% of the world’s top grocers are expected to adopt blockchain technology?

20% of world’s top grocery stores will use blockchain for food safety by 2025

Two of the top 10 grocers in the world by revenue will start using blockchain by 2025, a study has found, because the technology helps improve food safety for some of the biggest retailers.

“As grocers are being held to higher standards of visibility and traceability, they will lead the way with the development of blockchain,” said Joanne Joliet, senior research director at Gartner.

As this technology becomes more mainstream, it’s time to consider how this promising technology will shake up the world of grocery retail.

With an immense range of choice at their fingertips, consumers have begun to expect full transparency on the products they buy. Is this item really what it says on the tin? Has that one been kept properly refrigerated throughout its journey to the store? Was it really organically produced?

Walmart is asking its suppliers to work with blockchain technology to address food traceability; noting that current methods are slow and clunky.

In a comparison test the company used traditional methods, and it took about a week to track a package of mangos back to its source. Using blockchain in the grocery supply chain, the process took 2.2 seconds.

If this could be implemented across food supply chains the potential losses associated with an outbreak could be quickly mitigated.

The future of blockchain in the grocery industry

Normally you would have to wait for the supplier to contact you with the necessary information. Meanwhile, you’ve pulled all possibly-contaminated items off the shelf while you wait for the correct information to arrive.

With blockchain technology, you could scan the barcodes of a specific item — a carton of eggs, a case of strawberries, a bag of spinach — and be immediately alerted whether it needed to be pulled or if it was safe to sell and consume.

How can blockchain help grocery

Blockchain can even have an impact on farm-to-table eating, which could improve margins of grocery stores that sell organic foods. A recent article in Forbes suggested that even consumers can use a smartphone app to scan an item’s QR code and read a report about where their food was grown, what pesticides were used, and how it compares to other food on the shelves.

And it can reduce foodborne contaminations that might happen in the shipping and handling of a product, such as whether a refrigerator truck malfunctioned in transit and a truckload of chicken or raw shrimp was allowed to get warm enough to begin bacterial growth.

What are the pros and cons of blockchain in grocery?

The one major downside to blockchain technology in grocery is access. Those who don’t have the funds or the connections to obtain the technology or manpower needed to execute blockchain technology accurately won’t be able to take advantage of its benefits. There are, however, a few blockchain vendors on the market who are entering the food and sustainability space, so access may be less of an issue moving into 2020.

How IBM’s expanding blockchain-based grocery store network will improve food safety

IBM continues to expand the blockchain-based Food Trust network to improve the way food is traced from farm to grocery store, with Albertsons Companies piloting food safety measures in its 2,300 stores across the US

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