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Blockchain technology – a chain of blocks – is used to store and transmit information about transactions on the Internet, which are arranged in the form of successive blocks of data. It is already being used by Nestle logistics specialists, for example.

Some global food companies are testing the use of blockchain to improve their supply chain. The Swiss company Nestle has recently completed a pilot programme for a series of Gerber baby products (the traceability of fruit from the cultivation site to the store) and is planning further blockchain projects.

Next year Nestle intends to extend blockchain tests to public distributed databases (including ethereum).

According to Benjamin Dubois, head of blockchain division, Nestle wants to know if a public blockchain could work with Hyperledger Fabric, used by IBM technology. It also plans to examine whether a common platform could integrate international seaports and certify organic food.

We will look at how we can go a little further to use blockchain technology throughout the supply chain, from the farms to the product on our plates,” said Benjamin Dubois.

In spring this year, the company announced that it had provided consumers with access to blockchain data for puree Mousline (Maggi Mousline Puree) in France. Consumers can use their smartphone or other devices to scan the QR code (alphanumeric, two-dimensional, matrix, square graphic code) on the Mousline packaging.

The aim is to provide access to reliable information on the supply chain and food production.

Thanks to blockchain technology, customers can see the date of production, list of ingredients, storage times and location of warehouses.

There are more data available to check. We are talking about a full range of information related to the product supply chain, e.g. the customer can at any time find out not only how and when a given product was transported, but also the variety of potatoes from which it was made, when and where it was produced, as well as the quality control procedures applied or the place of storage and the date when it appeared on the store shelves.

This isn’t Nestle’s only project involving blockchain.

At the beginning of July this year, the company started cooperation with OpenSC – an innovative blockchain platform that allows consumers to track their food directly on the farm. Founded by WWF-Australia and The Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures, OpenSC has created a system that provides anyone, anywhere, with access to independently verifiable supply chain data.

The first pilot programme will track milk from farms and producers in New Zealand to Nestle factories and warehouses in the Middle East. Later, the technology will be tested with palm oil from the Americas. These pilot projects are designed to help Nestle understand how scalable the system is.

We want our consumers to make an informed decision on the choice of products – to choose products that are produced responsibly. Open blockchain technology can enable us to provide reliable information to consumers in an accessible way,” says Magdi Batato, Nestle’s Chief Operating Officer.

Photo:  ParentingPatch/ Wikimedia Commons

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