The Food Industry is changing rapidly especially in developing nations. But the food industry is facing problems such as food traceability, security, tracking, safety, and supply chain management. Let's see how blockchain can solve these problems.
What are the problems faced by the Food and Beverage Supply Chain Industry?
1. Difficulty in Food Origin Traceability
The difficulty in origin traceability in the food supply chain is one of the biggest problems. We don't know from where our food originates and where it ends.
There is no proper management of the origin of the food which we are eating. The vegetable which we are eating can be from a properly managed farm or from an unhygienic farm that doesn't have any food quality standards.
Profit-driven vendors fail to solve this problem, ultimately burdening restaurants and consumers in the end.
2. Food Fraud
Vendors touting fruits and vegetables as being imported or of high quality when they actually come from local markets are becoming more and more common.
Food fraud not only violates ethical principles but also puts consumers' health at risk.
3. Perishable Goods
Sometimes goods that are perishable become rotten and tracking of perishable goods on a platform is a problem as those platforms lack security and transparency.
4. Food Safety
Counterfeit products can be present in the scene which can be unsafe for the consumers. These products are introduced in a system that lacks security and tracking of goods.
5. Inventory Tracking
Inventory management systems fail to keep track of items' integrity. Tracking of Goods in the inventory is a problem as the database based systems can be easily tampered by malicious actors on the scene.
6. Data Tampering
Database systems used for management can be easily tampered. Even incorrect information can be entered as each actor gets to give input. In Blockchain-based systems, entities need to be created just at the origin.
Food that is not tracked properly cannot be verified in terms of its source, ingredients, and owners, thus lacking transparency.
"Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines" -Robert H. Schuller
We can use the food industry's problems to guide the development of technology that can help us overcome the problems we face.
How Blockchain will solve the problems of the Food Supply Chain Industry
Blockchain-based platforms or applications can be used to solve the above-mentioned problems due to their immutable nature.
The system to track goods accurately without compromising the integrity of the items does not exist currently. By providing high levels of immutability, blockchain will further enhance the security of the food supply chain ecosystem.
It will be impossible for anyone not authorized to access the network to read or write information. By using the blockchain, the problem of hackers altering the details of an item's identification can be solved.
2. Tamper Proof
As systems will be built on blockchain platforms, whether public blockchain or private blockchain, they would be tamper-proof as the information stored on the blockchain would remain constant with the help of hashing.
3. Easy Origin Tracking
Blockchain provides easy origin tracking as the network is made in such a way that the origin of the item can be traced very easily.
The blocks are linked to each other in a blockchain and hence, they can be easily tracked with the help of blockchain.
Current systems lack transparency. By creating a public blockchain platform, all members can be able to track food goods from the point of origin through to the final product.
Transparency can increase trust in the food we eat, which will lead to higher revenue for the food industry.
Diagram of Blockchain Ecosystem in the Food Industry
We will eventually create a system of farmers, transporters, retailers, and consumers. Those who seek transparency in this system can establish a common platform, whether it be a company or a government entity.
Foods that are grown will be added to the network with parameters such as the date of production, the approximate spoiling time, the origin, and the next destination.
As the item is passed along the chain, its origin can be tracked easily. After the information is created on the blockchain, foreign entities will not be able to change it.
The creation of this ecosystem using blockchain technology will definitely improve the quality of the food we eat on a daily basis.
Importance of Blockchain in Agriculture
Blockchain in agriculture can help in keeping track of produces. Once a crop is produced, it will get registered on the blockchain. This will help protect the integrity of the product, Due to the fact that the information in the network is 100% accurate, we can even use it to track the soil quality, humidity, amount of sunlight, etc. required to produce the crop of the maximum quality.
The information can then be posted on the blockchain platform, which will subsequently benefit other farmers.
Pros of Blockchain in Food Supply Chain
1. Protection from Food Tampering
Due to the smart contract technology, the barcode on the food item would be directly linked with the blockchain network, so it could not be tampered with.
Once the blockchain information is published, the people who try to steal/tamper with the product will be able to be caught easily since the changes in quantities will be easily reflected on the blockchain.
2. Easy Food Tracking
A blockchain platform makes it possible to track food. In order to facilitate ease of tracking, the blockchain platform needs to support parameters such as the current location of the item, origin, etc.
The changes should be incorporated into the platform during the development phase.
3. Quick Food origin Traceability
Blockchain can be used to track the origin of food easily. You can tell whether the food came from a farm that follows food safety standards or one that lacks basic sanitation.
Drawbacks of Blockchain
1. Energy Cost
The cost to run the blockchain network is more as compared to database based systems as the verification is required from all the members of the network hence there is more energy consumption.
Consensus Algorithms needs to be created which can carry out transactions with less energy consumption.
2. No Central Checking Authority
A major disadvantage of the blockchain platform is its strength that is the decentralized nature of the blockchain. Due to its decentralized nature, the blockchain network is not managed by any entity which can be a drawback sometimes.
If someone makes a mistake and transfers the wrong amount of money, there is no way for the authorities to recover the lost funds. It is up to the receiver whether or not he wants to return the money. Recently a man listed his NFT on a platform with a wrong price and that mistake cost him around 300K thousand dollars. These mistakes can't be rectified due to the Decentralized nature of the blockchain.
3. Verification Delay in Transactions
Transaction verification delays are among the cons of Blockchain platforms in food supply chains. As long as the vendors can wait some time, this is not a huge problem.
Through new algorithms, quick transaction times can be achieved. Furthermore, it is more important than the algorithms are accurate than the time required to verify a transaction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. The usefulness of Cryptocurrencies in the Food Industry?
Ans: Cryptocurrencies can create an ecosystem for the development of Dapps (Decentralized apps) for the betterment of the food industry. Blockchain platforms based ethereum can integrate cryptocurrencies such as ETH very easily.
For example, a platform can be created to manage the supply chain in the food industry using the ethereum blockchain network. Using the same platform, the transactions on the platform can be integrated very easily. Many startups have come which facilitate the integration of cryptocurrencies in the Dapps made by Ethereum Blockchain.
Q2. Role of Blockchain in food safety?
Ans: Blockchain Platform can be created where food safety can be taken into account. The platform will facilitate easy origin tracking, food traceability, and security. A tamper-proof platform can be created using the immutable nature of the blockchain.
Q3. Cost of Blockchain technology in the Food Industry?
Ans: The Cost of implementing blockchain technology can be very less (around 10-15 dollars or even free sometimes) if you are a blockchain developer. A small scale model of the blockchain platform can be created within days if someone has experience in creating Dapps. But the cost will start to arise once the number of users on the platforms increase. If someone is inexperienced in blockchain development, then they can hire developers to design the product. The cost to make the product can vary from 1000-100K dollars (or even more) depending on the size of the project.
There is definitely some potential for positive changes to occur in the food industry with Blockchain. The technology's drawbacks must be addressed in order to reduce negative effects.
Furthermore, even governments can come up with platforms that will benefit farmers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, and consumers.
"You can comment on the article. If on the mobile application, you can visit: https://www.chainblockworld.com/post/how-blockchain-can-change-the-whole-food-supply-chain-industry "