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2 months ago

New Blockchain Initiative distinct From Ongoing IBM Project; Nestle

By revenue, Nestlé is noted as the largest food company; they recently announced a pilot program to track supply chains using blockchain, through a statement from the company. Nestlé’s ongoing participation with IBM Food Trust blockchain is in no way the same as this initiative. They have partnered with a blockchain platform called OpenSC to develop the distributed ledger system which will be separate and different from the IBM blockchain. OpenSC was founded in January by WWF-Australia and The Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures.

Going by the statement of a Nestlé representative, the success of this pilot will be determined by the “feasibility, viability and scalability of the system,” and will last for six months. Also, how well the system verifies data will be used as a measure of success. Once it has begun functioning, the service may involve a QR code, mobile app, and web portal.
“For us, it is key that the access to the information is as seamless and easy as possible in order to have participation and traction with stakeholders and consumers,” the spokesperson said.
Nestle has stated that this initiative is being actualized in order to stir the market towards transparency by providing independently verifiable data to the conglomerate’s consumers. They also believe food safety and quality control will improve via the mechanism. “We want our consumers to make an informed decision on their choice of products – to choose products produced responsibly. Open blockchain technology might allow us to share reliable information with consumers in an accessible way,” said Magdi Batato, Nestlé Executive Vice President in a statement.

At the initial phase, milk from farms in New Zealand will be tracked to Nestlé facilities in the Middle East and will expand to include palm oil production in the Americas. This will aid the company to determine the scalability of the application as it has been highlighted that some retail items will take time to integrate. “With the palm oil supply chain in America, we can experiment the system at local level. Furthermore, the product itself, being liquid, it adds more complexity to the traceability,” a company representative said in an interview.
An open platform will be used to collect data through each step of the value chain and records. Also in the plans of the company is to include data from other monitoring systems, such as satellite imaging of farms, according to the company representative. “With the open platform, any update or change made in the system can be seen by all users as it retains the original data, which cannot be deleted,” they said.

IBM Blockchain uses a QR barcode on a product that when scanned provides information such as date of harvest, farm location, and owner, packing date, how long the item in transport, and tips on how to prepare it. In 2017, Nestlé had tested blockchain waters when it joined IBM Food Trust as a founding member. Further in April this year, the company announced its collusion with Carrefour in using blockchain to track Mousline potato puree from Nestlé factories to the French retail giant’s stores
Reports of Carrefour sales showed a significant increase by June owing to its use of transparent tracking. “We want to offer consumers what they want. Consumers are more and more demanding for information related to their food. They are eager to understand where the ingredients come from, whether it has been sourced responsibly and how the food is made. Blockchain helps provide consumers trusted data collected throughout the value chain,” said the spokesperson.

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Credits - Daniel Kuhn

Anita O.

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