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 Appetite for Blockchain Along Food Supply Chain

Blockchain makes inroads into supply chain management

Blockchain is making inroads into supply chain management. In Italy, retailers and manufacturers are tracking the food supply chain. Elsewhere, a blockchain transport alliance gains a new member. IBM and Chainyard also eye a supply chain-focused blockchain project.

Blockchain is gaining traction in supply chain management, as evidenced by a series of announcements over the past several days.

As reported in Bitnews Today, in Italy, several retail firms and food manufacturers are getting behind projects that will help trace the food supply chain, with an eye on transparency.

The site said that consumers would be able to identify information on labels through the use of smartphones, where data will be tied to food origin and other factors.

According to the reports, the Italian hypermarket Auchen Retail Italia, working with Big Group and the technology partner Te Food have been tracing the carrot supply chain. Tracking data comes through the use of QR codes contained on project labeling.

The firms aim to trace 40 food products across 19 regions in the country and as many as 1,500 retail outlets. Said the site, the retail outlets will include the Auchan hypermarkets and Auchan, Simply and IperSimply supermarkets.

“And on their shelves, there are 5,000 food products labeled Auchan and 17,000 food products of local producers,” according to the site.

There have been other, similar efforts within the food industry as Carrefour has been tracing 4,000 food products that bear the firm’s labeling in Italy. Other firms include Barilla, which has been working with IBM Italia to track foodstuffs.

In other IBM news, the tech giant and Chainyard have teamed to develop a blockchain platform that streamlines supply chain management. The Trust Your Supplier program, as reported by sdcexec.com, targets improved supplier qualification, validation and lifecycle information management. There are other contributors to the platform, including Nokia, Vodafone and Lenovo.

The partnership aims to streamline manual processes and promote what is termed a “digital passport for supplier identity.”  IBM has said the program would have minimal costs as it can be integrated on top of systems that are already in place.

“Blockchain is still a buzz word among the supply chain industry as little tests have shown impactful results. However, the digital ledger has proven to reduce costs and improve efficiency — something that all companies are looking to be better at,” reported the site.

Elsewhere, CoinTelegraph reported that software engineering and IT consulting services firm EPAM Systems Inc. said it has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (or BiTA) that develops blockchain practices and standards geared toward the transportation, logistics and supply chain industry.

A press release said that the software firm has identified “21 real-world use cases” to be used across life sciences, transportation, logistics, agriculture, insurance and healthcare, to name just a few sectors. BiTA will purportedly use EPAM’s software engineering to help develop blockchain standards.

In the commentary, Jitin Agarwal, EPAM’s vice president of enterprise products, said “With all the buzz and hype in the market, some companies assume that blockchain is the ultimate be-all, end-all solution for any business challenge. At EPAM, we’re working closely with our customers to help them truly understand how they can utilize distributed ledger technology, in combination with our other solution offerings, to increase efficiency and unlock new business models.”  Earlier this month, Canada’s transcontinental railway, Canadian Pacific, also joined the BiTA to support improvements for supply chain management and logistics rendered through blockchain.

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