In the intensely competitive retail market, it seems one of the best ways to win over market share from rivals is to pump new life into the supply chain. Carrefour, one of Europe’s largest retailers, has recognized this strategy and is now adopting blockchain to track its supply chain and provide more transparency about the source of food that customers purchase.
The France-based company has said its blockchain solution will be rolled out in eight of its new product lines, starting with chicken and expanding it further to include honey, cheese, and some vegetables. The implementation of this blockchain tool, according to the company, will help its customers in France trace the journey of their food besides ensuring that higher standards of food safety are met.
Explaining the decision to use blockchain, Carrefour’s general secretary and head of food and quality, Laurent Vallee said such implementation would “guarantee complete transparency” and that it will help with “traceability of our products”. Carrefour blockchain-powered system to offer complete product traceability by tracking the activity of every participant of the supply chain—from producers to processors to distributors.
Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum, can be very helpful for supply chain. It not only creates and maintains an incorruptible record of each item data, but such information can be securely and easily stored and shared between parties.
Information about the products, such as where the chickens were raised, the diet and the locations of the slaughter will be provided by the producers and processors and sent along to the store so that customers can review it. Customers, therefore, will be able to find this useful information when they scan a QR code on the product packaging using their smartphones.
It’s no secret that today’s consumers have an increasing need for transparency, perhaps fueled by the rise of the organic movement. Indeed, grocery shoppers are taking more interest in the quality of the produce they purchase by trying to learn more about the origin of the goods than the details provided on the labels. Carrefour is hoping to yield more sales from the health-conscious customers, who tend to have a high appetite for transparency.
While Carrefour blockchain initiative is among the first projects to help increase transparency in a company’s supply chain, other retailers have ventured into similar projects. Earlier this year, Walmart, the US retail giant, announced an expansion of their partnership with IBM due to the success of their initial project feature that allows customers to trace sources of their foods. Being able to trace pork shipments back to China and fresh mangoes back to their domestic sources in the US, allows Walmart to manage its supply chain more efficiently and streamline its restocking process.