IBM goes live with its Food Trust blockchain network

October 10, 2018

After 18 months in testing, IBM has announced that its food supply chain network—IBM Food Trust—is now available for use. The blockchain-based cloud network offers participating retailers, suppliers, growers, and food industry providers with data from across the food ecosystem to enable greater traceability, transparency, and efficiency. During the testing period, millions of individual food products were tracked by retailers and suppliers.

The ecosystem of network participants continues to grow, and recently the global retailer Carrefour announced they will use the IBM Food Trust blockchain network to strengthen their food excellence actions. With 12,000 stores in 33 countries, Carrefour plans to initially use the solution to highlight consumers’ confidence in a number of Carrefour-branded products. As a commitment of the retailer’s Act for Food program, the solution is expected to expand to all Carrefour brands worldwide by 2022.

Beyond the goal of making food safer, the IBM Food Trust network and accompanying solutions have expanded to focus on optimizing the food supply. This includes generating insights on product freshness, reducing waste, and making the supply chain more collaborative and transparent.

IBM Food Trust uses a decentralized model to allow multiple participating members of the food supply chain—from growers to suppliers to retailers—to share food origin details, processing data, and shipping information on a permissioned blockchain network. Each node on the blockchain is controlled by a separate entity, and all data on the blockchain is encrypted. The decentralized features of the network enable all parties to work together to ensure the data is trusted.

“The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Clients, Platforms, and Blockchain. “That collaborative approach is how the members of IBM Food Trust have shown blockchain can strengthen transparency and drive meaningful enhancements to food traceability. Ultimately that provides business benefits for participants and a better and safer product for consumers.”

Press release