Grocers to enjoy use blockchains by 2025. Source: Shutterstock

Grocers to enjoy use blockchains by 2025. Source: Shutterstock

Blockchain to be a big hit among grocers says Gartner

BLOCKCHAIN is an interesting technology. It’s a tad bit complicated to understand at first, which is why initial use cases weren’t scaled up.

However, as businesses see first hand how the technology provides transparency and accountability, the demand for blockchain-powered solutions is picking up.

Most recently, Gartner forecasted that 20 percent of the world’s top grocers would be using blockchain based solutions by 2025. Their primary use case will be food safety and traceability.

Using blockchain will allow grocers to gain visibility into production, quality, and freshness. If this information is passed on to customers, it provides a greater incentive to make a purchase — especially for buyers looking for organic produce, local farmers, and so on.

“Blockchain can help deliver confidence to grocer’s customers, and build and retain trust and loyalty,” said Gartner Senior Research Director Joanne Joliet.

“Grocery retailers are trialing and looking to adopt blockchain technology to provide transparency for their products. Additionally, understanding and pinpointing the product source quickly may be used internally, for example, to identify products included in a recall.”

Blockchain appears as an ideal technology to foster transparency and visibility along the food supply chain.

Encryption capabilities on the food source, quality, transit temperature, and freshness can be used to ensure that the data is accurate and will give confidence to both consumers and retailers.

According to Gartner, some grocers have already been experimenting with blockchain and are developing best practices.

For example, Walmart is now requiring suppliers of leafy greens to implement a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain. Other grocers, such as Unilever and Nestlé, are also using blockchain to trace food contamination.

In Malaysia, Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Sim Tze Tzin recently said that the state of Penang is working on a solution to harness blockchains to track agricultural produce.

“The technology will certainly come in handy if there is an outbreak of disease as it enhances the tracking and operations of food industries. Food can be tracked from the farms or laboratories to the dining table,” Sim told local media.

“As grocers are being held to higher standards of visibility and traceability they will lead the way with the development of blockchain, but we expect it will extend to all areas of retail,” said Gartner’s Joliet.

“Similar to how the financial services industry has used blockchain, grocers will evolve best practices as they apply blockchain capabilities to their ecosystem. Grocers also have the opportunity to be part of the advancement of blockchain as they develop new use cases for important causes for health, safety, and sustainability.”