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Perspectives

Blockchain technology drives growth in the fresh food industry

Radical transparency delivers insights across the blockchain food value chain

Evolving technologies are spurring collaboration, partnerships, investment, and new opportunities to improve product quality and reduce food waste. Our latest report offers unique insights into blockchain food innovations and their effect on this rapidly growing market.

Radical transparency and renewed trust

Blockchain technology is establishing new forms of trust across the food industry supply chain while promising better quality food for end consumers. How? Radical transparency.

Radical transparency via blockchain technology offers food producers, distributors, and retailers detailed insights and data about fresh produce as it makes its way from seed to sale. The blockchain food value chain has the potential to deliver new benefits to the fresh food industry. With radical transparency:

  • Global food supply chains that struggle with fraud, corruption, false claims, and gray-market trading can verify freshness, improve traceability, and re-capture consumer confidence
  • Buyers challenged by previous market inefficiencies and missing information can modify their purchasing decisions based on more relevant, up-to-date product characteristics informed by blockchain food insights
  • Growers, distributors, and 3PLs can identify root cause quality failures early on and avoid repercussions.
The emerging blockchain economy for food

Partnerships, co-investments, and virtual vertical integration

While supplier and customer collaboration, such as joint business planning, are not new concepts in the grocery industry, more granular information sharing, progress tracking, and benefit measurement have proved challenging for partners. With blockchain food technology, concepts such as freshness-based contracts, rather than quantity-based contracts, have the potential to overcome those challenges. More trusted information helps align value chain compensation on attributes that are most relevant to consumers. This approach allows partners to share freshness KPIs, from Internet of Things sensors, and develop new grading and pricing guidelines, prior to transactions occurring. This creates win-win solutions for the entire blockchain food value chain, as buyers can now source and pay based on quality.

Similar capabilities would enable retailers to identify suboptimal cold chain performance from their suppliers, for example, and co-invest in shared mobile cooling units to improve product quality during peak seasons when suppliers suffer from inadequate precooling throughput.

Virtual vertical integration could also create opportunities for organisations to exert control through compliance and incentives, in a similar way to vertical integration, without having to take operational control.

New business models based on radical transparency

These new blockchain solutions can reduce market inefficiencies to create more value and reduce the food waste that was once considered a cost of doing business. As a result, industry partners will be able to reduce total industry costs and create new sources of value. New market entrants could offer:

  • freshness management services,
  • product-buyer matching, and
  • digitally-defined industry performance standards.

Deloitte Blockchain Solutions enable this value through architecture, digital design, and development solutions that are market-ready and address real business issues.

Explore these topics and the latest detailed blockchain food developments by downloading our full report.