Albertsons Companies to Join Blockchain-based IBM Food Trust Network to Pilot Increased Transparency for Romaine Lettuce
- by Andrea Allen
ARMONK, NY and BOISE, ID - Albertsons is joining the likes of Walmart in taking a stance on food safety, announcing today that it will begin piloting blockchain technology to improve how food is traced from farm to store shelf.
“Blockchain technology has the potential to be transformational for us as we further build differentiation on our fresh brand,” said Anuj Dhanda, Chief Information Officer, Albertsons. “Food safety is a very significant step. In addition, the provenance of the products enabled by blockchain—the ability to track every move from the farm to the customer’s basket—can be very empowering for our customers.”
According to a recent press release, Albertsons will begin piloting the blockchain-based IBM Food Trust network for tracing bulk romaine from one of its distribution centers. The retailer will then explore the expansion to other food categories throughout its distribution network. Albertsons also noted that it plans to pilot the solution to help overcome the obstacles that have existed when a traceback is initiated for a product like romaine, and is evaluating ways to use the technology to highlight the provenance of its Own Brands portfolio.
“Multiple high-profile consumer advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration demonstrate the need to find more efficient ways of tracing products and identifying likely sources of contamination in a timely manner,” said Jerry Noland, VP of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Albertsons. “Consequently, retailers are exploring new technologies to improve the infrastructure that underpins the global food supply chain.”
The retailer noted in its news release that a blockchain network is strongest when it includes multiple, diverse members that form a transacting ecosystem. The solution itself can enable an ecosystem of companies from across the industry to onboard and share data.
“Establishing IBM Food Trust and opening it to the food ecosystem last year was a major milestone in making blockchain real for business,” added Raj Rao, General Manager, IBM Food Trust. “Today, we are focused on ensuring that the solution scales and is accessible to participants across the food ecosystem, such as Albertsons. By bringing more members into the network and enabling them to share greater cross-sections of data in a secured environment, we believe our vision of a transformed food ecosystem using blockchain is closer than ever.”
Will other retailers follow suit? AndNowUKnow will continue to watch the progress of food safety.