Blockchain Could Revolutionize the Food Industry

  • Technology set to improve efficiency, Rabobank analyst says
  • Food-fraud costs industry $40 billion a year, university says

The technology that tracks bitcoin transactions is set to revolutionize the food chain.

Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology, will lower transaction costs for food companies, improve efficiency and create new business opportunities, said Harry Smit, a senior analyst at Rabobank International. Firms should explore options to adapt to the new technology or risk losing their competitive edge as innovation takes hold, he said in a report released Thursday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. have already jumped on the bandwagon and more are joining in, including Nestle SA and Dole Food Co. Companies are seeking to improve transparency in industry targeted by food-fraud that’s been estimated by Michigan State University to cost as much as $40 billion a year.

“In order for goods to be traceable from farm to fork, all parties that handle the goods should be linked to the blockchain,” Smit said. “Once the hurdle of broad participation is taken and the benefits of a more transparent supply chain manifest themselves, laggards will be forced to join fast, or otherwise remain at a competitive disadvantage.”

— With assistance by Megan Durisin

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