Blockchain to 'save food industry $31 billion,' new research says

Key Points
  • Blockchain refers to a tamper-proof, distributed digital ledger that records transactions.
  • It can be used in a number of ways across a range of different sectors, from food and drink to energy. 
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Blockchain will facilitate $31 billion in "food fraud savings" by the year 2024, according to new data from Juniper Research.

According to the research, which was released earlier this week, blockchain, along with "internet of things" trackers and sensors, would help to drive down costs for retailers. This would be achieved through the streamlining of supply chains, efficient food recall processes and "simpler regulatory compliance." The research is contained within the "Blockchain: Key Vertical Opportunities, Trends & Challenges 2019-2030" report.

Blockchain refers to a tamper-proof, distributed digital ledger that records transactions. The European Commission has described the internet of things as merging "physical and virtual worlds, creating smart environments."

In a statement Monday, Juniper Research said that the internet of things and blockchain would add "significant value" to those involved in the supply chain, namely, farmers, retailers and the consumer.

Today, many consumers are increasingly aware of where their food comes from and how it is produced. Nevertheless, trust is still a big issue, especially when it comes to supply chains.

In 2013, for example, the food industry in Europe was rocked when horse meat was found to be present in food products that did not list it as an ingredient.

"Today, transparency and efficiency in the food supply chain are limited by opaque data forcing each company to rely on intermediaries and paper-based records," Morgane Kimmich, the research author, said in a statement.

"Blockchain and the IOT (internet of things) provide an immutable, shared platform for all actors in the supply chain to track and trace assets; saving time, resources and reducing fraud," Kimmich added.

The applications of blockchain technology are wide ranging. Major utility Iberdrola, for instance, has used it to "guarantee" that the energy it sends to its customers comes from 100 percent renewable sources.

In an announcement in January, the firm said that it had undertaken an "experiment" with the financial entity Kutxabank. Using blockchain, Kutxabank was able to track the origin of energy supplies, in real time, "from the generation asset to the point of consumption."