Blockchain in the food chain

Axfoundation is running a collaborative project in the food industry to explore and evaluate the potential of blockchain technology to increase transparency and traceability. Together with IBM, we have carried out three design studies on real cases to evaluate where blockchain technology can create value and to gain concrete knowledge of how it can be applied to the food industry supply chain. The project was built around the outcomes of three full-day workshops where, with the guidance of IBM, we carried out design studies into three cases: traceability of MSC-certified fish, guaranteeing working conditions in agricultural crops in Morocco, and transparency in Swedish pig breeding.

Outcomes and recommendations from the studies are summarized in the report “Designing blockchain use cases to deliver greater sustainability in the food chain”. Read the report here.

We have learned that blockchain technology has the potential to enable environmental and social checks and control in the supply chain. At the same time, the technology is immature, the supply chain complex and issues about upscaling still unresolved. This complicates the analysis.

The largest potential for blockchain technology appears to be in the supply chain where there is no transparency and where trust between players is low. It also has the potential to democratize the supply chain by sharing secure information, and thus power, among the players. Based on the results of the design studies, Axfoundation hopes to proceed with a pilot study into where the potential for transformative and sustainable change is greatest.

Axfoundation began to investigate the potential of blockchain technology for food traceability and transparency as early as 2017, when a feasibility study was conducted with Kairos Future together with Martin & Servera, SKL Kommentus, Sustainable Procurement (Sweden’s County Council and Regions). Read the feasibility study here.

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