Kroger and Walmart join IBM-led food pedigree consortium

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Kroger and Walmart join IBM-led food pedigree consortium

By Michael Johnsen - 08/25/2017




ARMONK, N.Y. — A group of leading companies across the global food supply chain, including Walmart and Kroger, earlier this week announced a major blockchain collaboration with IBM to further strengthen consumer confidence.



“Unlike any technology before it, blockchain is transforming the way like-minded organizations come together and enabling a new level of trust based on a single view of the truth,” stated Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Blockchain. “Our work with organizations across the food ecosystem, as well as IBM’s new platform, will further unleash the vast potential of this exciting technology, making it faster for organizations of all sizes and in all industries to move from concept to production to improve the way business gets done.”



In parallel trials in China and the U.S., IBM and Walmart recently demonstrated that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds instead of days or weeks.



These trials also demonstrated that stakeholders throughout the global food supply chain view food safety as a collaborative issue, rather than a competitive one, and are willing to work together to improve the food system for everyone.



“As an advocate for greater transparency in the food system to benefit customers, Walmart looks forward to expanding on our initial work by collaborating with others to accelerate exploration on how this technology can be used as a more effective food traceability and food safety tool,” said Frank Yiannas, VP food safety, Walmart. “Blockchain technology enables a new era of end-to-end transparency in the global food system – equivalent to shining a light on food ecosystem participants that will further promote responsible actions and behaviors. It also allows all participants to share information rapidly and with confidence across a strong trusted network.”



“Safety is a key value for Kroger, and our partnership with IBM positions us to explore and test blockchain technology as a solution for enhanced food safety across our business," added Howard Popoola, Kroger's VP corporate food technology and regulatory compliance. "Food safety is a universal priority for food retailers and companies. It's not a competitive advantage; it benefits our customers to have greater transparency and traceability in the supply chain."



Blockchain is ideally suited to help address challenges of cross-contamination, the spread of food-borne illness and and unnecessary waste because it establishes a trusted environment for all transactions. In the case of the global food supply chain, all participants - growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers - can gain permissioned access to known and trusted information regarding the origin and state of food for their transactions.



The consortium includes Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick, McLane, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart.