From Certified Rainforest and Organic to Non-GMO and Gluten Free, food certifications deliver critical insights about the food we buy. And while the global food certification market is forecast to generate $6.9 billion by 2030, it remains riddled with complex, time-consuming challenges. Fortunately, innovative technologies like blockchain have made it possible to navigate these hurdles with more clarity. Specifically, as a decentralized, permanent ledger, blockchain allows stakeholders to share verifiable information in real-time. With this in mind, let’s examine how blockchain can help overcome food certification challenges.

The Challenges of Food Certification

Tracking food certifications is vital across global supply chains, building consumer trust and supporting producer revenues. However, most certification data remains segmented across stakeholders, and packaging requirements commonly differ worldwide. Without consistent information-sharing, there’s no way for consumers to validate where products originate, who packages them, or how they end up at the grocery store.

As a result, consumers are often left with more questions than answers when seeking food products that are more sustainable or meet their dietary needs. For example, a brand may claim to sell only Certified Organic coffee while mixing beans of varying grades in the same bag. Unfortunately, these instances of greenwashing occur worldwide, and blockchain is one way to solve it.

Blockchain to the Rescue

As a decentralized infrastructure, blockchain-based solutions share immutable data in real time, bolstering transparency across global supply chains. Specifically, because blockchain establishes data provenance, it enables track and trace functionality at every step of the product journey. In short, every transaction is simultaneously visible to all stakeholders, meaning every action is auditable. Equipped with an understanding of how blockchain works, we can examine some specific benefits of using it for food certification.

Authenticate Certifications

First, because blockchain generates an immutable ledger, it eliminates the possibility of tampering or fraud. Specifically, suppliers, distributors, retailers, and consumers all gain a clear understanding of where food comes from. For example, if consumers want to validate whether an apple is Certified Organic, they could scan a barcode on its packaging with their smartphone to pull up the blockchain ledger. This data might include where it came from, how many miles it traveled before reaching them, its variety, and if the farm used pesticides.

Eliminate Waste

Second, blockchain technology allows companies to track products through global supply chains comprised of several stakeholders. This transparency can help reduce costs by minimizing unnecessary storage or transportation fees while reducing waste caused by spoilage or damage during transit. Such insight is essential for perishable items like fresh produce and meat since these items may only have a few days to reach consumers before expiring.

Faster Response Time

Finally, in the event of foodborne illnesses or widespread contamination, blockchain can enable faster recalls because all food data is available on a ledger available to regulators, distributors, and customers. For example, IBM and Walmart have already partnered to deliver this functionality for tracking pork products in China. In this case, information about each pig is recorded to the blockchain using a digital certificate of authenticity, meaning companies can quickly identify food safety issues and have products recalled before they reach consumers.

Improving Food Certifications with Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that can help solve many of the problems associated with food certification. In short, blockchain provides an immutable record of transactions, meaning there’s no chance stakeholders can alter or remove information. This functionality is ideal for ensuring food products are safe, and certifications are valid before reaching consumers. At SIMBA, we make it easy for enterprises and governments to leverage the power of blockchain for supply chain management. Click here to discover how SIMBA helped Toks transparently track the distribution and quality of coffee beans.