Globalized blockchain: Auchan implements food traceability technology on international scale

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28 Nov 2018 --- French retail giant, Auchan, has implemented TE-FOOD’s blockchain based farm-to-table food traceability solution in France, with further international roll-outs expected to follow in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Senegal. Auchan, the world’s 13th largest food retailer, has been monitoring the performance of TE-FOOD’s blockchain technology in its Vietnam branch since 2016.

As an initial step, Auchan has used TE-FOOD’s blockchain technology to provide food quality and logistics related information in France for vegetable products, including organic carrot and potato. The company says it will soon be rolled out to other products such as chicken, followed by more countries, for example, tomato, carrot and chicken in Italy.

With the new technology, consumers can scan QR codes on products and view the food history with any mobile app which is capable of reading QR codes. The authenticity of all data will be verified on the FoodChain (TE-FOOD’s blockchain for global traceability information).

Auchan highlights that, according to studies, 66 percent of consumers do not believe the information displayed on food labels. Articles about food frauds are featured often in the media, resulting in a massive consumer distrust, which puts a growing pressure on the shoulders of food companies and food safety authorities. Farm-to-table food traceability on blockchain can be an efficient method to gain back the trust of consumers, but it is not the sole advantage of it.

During food-related outbreaks, it often takes weeks to find the source of contamination in the supply chain, which can contain hundreds of companies residing in several countries. With TE-FOOD, the complete history of a food product can be instantly seen on blockchain, so recalls can be managed quickly and efficiently. Authorities can respond quicker to mitigate the effects of outbreaks, while the food companies can make targeted product recalls.

This month’s Romaine lettuce E.coli outbreak in the US and Canada has again highlighted the significant role that blockchain technologies can play in improving traceability in order to manage the frequency and effects of such outbreaks.

Using blockchain technology in the supply chain is relatively new. Some recent examples of uptakes include US-based Walmart, the French Carrefour, and the Dutch Albert Heijn retail chains which have all began experimenting with it. Auchan believes that its international scale implementation represents a progression in the blockchain space.

TE-FOOD – the solution implemented by Auchan – has the largest farm-to-table food traceability program in Vietnam, where more than 6000 companies are using it, including leading international food conglomerates like AEON, CP Group, Lotte Mart, Big C, Japfa, or CJ.

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the food supply chain as manufacturers are forced to respond to consumer pressure around transparency of sourcing and the supply chain in general. This is according to Ramesh Gopinath, Vice President at Blockchain Solutions at IBM, who spoke to FoodIngredientsFirst at the Future Food Tech Summit in London last month.

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