Blockchain technologies for food traceability: Digitization of the supply network
By Dr. Amit Kohli, Associate Professor at University Canada West
The phenomenal growth of AI technologies poses new threats and opportunities for sustainable supply-demand curves in the global economy. As some scholars perceived, the failure of capitalism and the breakdown of social democracy coalesced into a bigger narrative of the global supply chain that was recently disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the goal of sustainable human existence needs to be assessed with a humanistic lens rather than with a myopic national and regional one.
The effects of COVID-19 have raised serious concerns about global supply chains. Long supply chains are more vulnerable than smaller ones. Global supply chains that are exposed to any pandemic eruption, like COVID-19, to any conflict, like the Russia-Ukraine War, or any other large global conflict could potentially disrupt global supply chains. Business leaders are now focusing on sound and sustainable supply chain processes. The term “supply chain management” describes overseeing a product’s path, from obtaining the raw ingredients to ultimately delivering the finished product to customers. The most recent technologies could be used to simplify the entire intricate network of steps.
Blockchain technologies help establish effective and sustainable supply chains and accommodate disruptive innovations. A blockchain can provide a transparent ledger that records every step of the supply chain process and continuously updates digital records. The use of blockchain significantly improves the overall supply chain process, leading to better efficiency and efficacy.
Food loss and waste have become hot topics for food safety, climate and economies around the world. Each year, more than a quarter of all prepared food produced for humankind (1.3 billion tonnes of edible food) is wasted in supply chain activities. According to World Food Programme, an estimated 820 million people are hungry and go without food daily, and a further 345.2 million are food insecure.
The potential to enhance supply chain performance and management has increased considerably as a result of recent disruptive technological breakthroughs, such as blockchain. One such application is enhancing supply chain traceability, which is crucial in food-related industries. It would be beneficial for a number of issues, including customer service, source tracing, waste minimization and food safety. Companies would need to figure out how to respond to disruptive technologies, build and implement new systems, and let the technology regulate the supply chains.
Blockchain technology provides an effective tool for tracking a product from end to end. Consider the scenario where blockchain enables you to discover the location and time of the fruit’s harvest as well as its origin, grower, mode of transportation and storage as you prepare to consume it. This would enable consumers to decide what they consume with even greater knowledge. While one advantage of incorporating blockchain into the supply chain process is to give customers more information, there are other reasons blockchain is becoming more popular. The increasing demand for accountability and openness from regulatory agencies is another crucial factor. Blockchain can streamline and lower the cost of each step, even while businesses are already working to supply the regulatory authorities with all the information they require.
From a practical point of view, it helps companies to follow the execution plan after positioning themselves according to the structure of the supply chain, the mainstream operating strategy, and their current position in terms of scanning. The advent of new technologies, including blockchain, is said to have the potential to introduce disruptive systems that integrate supply chains, driving game-changing innovations in visibility, speed, traceability and reliability and being capable of refactoring the entire network. Despite their incredible potential, the use of the most promising technologies, such as blockchain, still needs to be significantly expanded.
The adoption of digitally integrated technologies to date has been anecdotal. Well-established theories of disruptive technology and technology adoption models and models for spreading innovation along the supply chain have yet to be fully applied in the context of the digital integration of networks. Therefore, given the gap in the documentation, companies still need to be clearer about a robust framework for selecting and deploying integrated technologies and managing adequate propagation to partners in the industry. Blockchain has been one of the hottest terms of the past decade and is considered the most important technological revolution since the invention of the internet. As a result, many companies are racing to develop and adopt versions of the blockchain. This technology is in the traceability of the food supply chain (a security-sensitive area). Blockchain, the new trend in food traceability, has opened the doors for these companies by providing fully transparent and secure traceability systems.
Like any new technology, blockchain has attracted decision-makers with their compelling features regarding reliability, accuracy, interoperability, decentralization, immutability and scalability. Many have decided to pursue this step of change, believing that the future offers some benefit from early adoption, even without fully understanding or questioning the applicability and integration of the technology. Therefore, the limitations of using blockchain in food traceability or successful implementation/adoption guiding factors are quite ripe for further development. These factors cover a wide range of issues, from the adoption decision stage, return on investment considerations, cost-benefit and carbon footprint analysis to implementation issues related to the selection. Although the initial cost of implementing a blockchain is a bit high, losing customers is painful, and the rewards for all shareholders far exceed the expected price.