The food industry is actively seeking enhanced ways to safely produce and distribute food in order to meet demand. According to a 2017 study by Visa, U.S. consumers spend more at restaurants than on groceries. This fact is indicative of the busy lifestyles and discerning tastes of consumers. As a result, the supply chains and distribution networks of the food service industry are facing increasing demand to quickly and efficiently deliver safe, nutritious and delicious food to customers.
Food safety is paramount and, although food safety incidents may be rare, they can be catastrophic. When public health is at stake, urgent efforts to contain the outbreak, treat impacted consumers and address the root issue are critical. The speed and accuracy of available data are essential in enabling industry and public officials to make appropriate decisions, save lives and mitigate both economic and reputational impact.
Besides food safety, consumers are increasingly demanding transparency regarding the source of their food. In such situations, national and global food traceability systems come in to play. Today, the food industry is undergoing a traceability revolution following digitization, which enables rapid, accurate tracking of the supply chain. The transition from dispersed and manual record-keeping towards integrated digital records is enabled by technologies such as Blockchain and cloud-based sensors. Versatile in nature, Blockchain is a digital ledger that records transactions of various types in real time that cannot be changed. In the food industry, Blockchain technology can revolutionize how we manage the chain of custody from source to spoon. For example, we could precisely identify the vessel and location where a batch of salmon was caught, where and when it was processed and stored, and follow its movements to the supermarket aisle or the restaurant — all within seconds.
Traceability in food is a true revolution for the industry enabled by digital transformation and fueled by consumer demand.