According to a report by Techwire Asia, Nestlé is embracing blockchain technology for its complex supply chain.
The global food giant uses a highly complex global supply chain involving production, processing, packaging, storage, logistics and distribution.
This distances the end consumer away from the original producers, to the point where continuous product hand-overs increase the risk of contamination, deterioration, adulteration or counterfeiting.
At the same time, consumers themselves are becoming increasingly demanding, particularly with regard to the transparency of production and distribution processes, creating new challenges for producers and distributors.
The multinational Nestlé is the world’s largest food producer, so much so that in 2019 it sold more than $80 billion worth of food products in 187 countries, with 403 factories worldwide.
In addition, being a key component of the supermarket supply chain, Nestlé is required to maintain very high standards.
This is why it is investing significant resources in product tracking, and the blockchain is one of the technologies it is implementing.
Actually, it has been at least a year since the company decided to follow this path, to such an extent that it is a founding member of the IBM Food Trust, the SaaS solution that offers users immediate access to food supply chain data. Their involvement in this area is becoming more and more intense.
Thanks to distributed ledgers, or actual blockchains, it is possible to store and make public the complete history and current location of food products, as well as any other information such as certifications, test data or temperature data, easily available in a matter of seconds once made public.
Nestlé’s journey with blockchain technology
According to Benjamin Dubois, who manages the digital transformation of Nestlé’s supply chain, the company looked at all other alternative technologies and came to the conclusion that there is no other sufficiently flexible technology with the same level of reliability and immutability.
Among other things, Dubois also focuses on decentralized, trustless blockchains, which can reassure the end consumer that the data, once recorded, has not been changed by anyone. In this way, those who enter the data are bound to take full and complete responsibility for their truthfulness.
In April, Nestlé began using IBM Food Trust’s distributed ledgers to track the products of its luxury coffee brand Zoégas, making it possible for end consumers to scan a QR code to access information about the coffee’s origins, where and by whom it was grown, the date and time of harvest, shipping certificates, roasting period, etc.
According to Dubois, this is a kind of incredibly complex data conveyor belt that provides a complete picture of the journey undertaken by food products.
Although he adds that he does not expect to be able to use similar traceability solutions for each product, he firmly believes that the blockchain is a crucial component in continuing to evolve the company’s mission to provide healthy food around the world.