Is grocery store salmon really wild? Blockchain has the answer.
- A new blockchain certification system launched by Viant and the World Wild Fund for Nature offers consumers a way to track a fish's history, from the ocean to the plate, according to Fortune.
- Fish are tagged with a QR code when they’re caught, and information about them is logged into Viant’s system. Along the way from fishing net to market, information on the fish's journey is added.
- The blockchain technology is tamper-proof, but does allow participants to chose what they want to upload and how they want the product tracked.
It would appear that there is no detail about a product or animal that consumers don't want to know about. If the chicken that laid the egg they're scrambling for breakfast had a name, best friend, or gluten sensitivity, they want to read about it.
As food companies try to meet consumers' voracious demand for traceability, blockchain technology may become increasingly applicable, albeit expensive.
Wal-Mart tested out a new traceability initiative using blockchain technology in 2017 with encouraging results. The supermarket giant tracked pork in China and mangoes in the U.S., establishing a digital history for each product. This success will likely translate into broader use of this technology for the super store.
Smaller startups are testing out traceability systems, and marketing them as a reason to trust and buy their product. Freeze-dried fruit company Crunchies recently introduced a new traceability platform, which allows consumers to see where the fruit from their individual bags of blueberries or strawberries originated.
Consumer response to these new tracking systems has been overwhelmingly positive, as recent studies find that transparency is of the utmost importance. A recent study from Response Media found 70% of respondents said their purchases are always or often influenced by transparency content and almost all respondents said they would pay more for more transparent products — 99% for fresh food, like beef and spinach, and 98% for packaged food.
Transparency with seafood is especially important, as is has high instances of food fraud. International advocacy group Oceana has found that fish sold in restaurants and grocery stores are sometimes not the advertised species, and consumers can get less expensive or inferior substitutes.
Blockchain technology isn't limited to the food space, either. Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline also employs Viant’s tracking services. Fine gems, like diamonds, are also now getting personalized information kept about them, thanks to gem blockchain service Everledgerthat.
Transparency doesn't have to come in the form of blockchain technology. Food manufacturers, like Hershey, started participating in the Grocery Manufacturers Association's SmartLabel program in the last year, adding a smartphone-scannable barcode to packaging.