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Blockchain and IoT ‘to save food industry $31bn by 2024’

By Hugh Wilson

Technology could reduce food prices in store while raising consumer confidence, report says

Blockchain’s ability to trace food across supply chains will enable food fraud savings of $31bn (£24bn, €28bn) by 2024, according to a new report.

The new data from Juniper Research suggests that food fraud savings will start in 2021 and by 2024 the use of blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) technology could reduce food compliance costs by 30 per cent. These savings could potentially be passed on to consumers as lower prices in store.

Blockchain and the IoT would work in tandem, according to Juniper.. While IoT technology links the physical and digital worlds through tracking sensors and temperature monitors, Blockchain would store this data in a dispersed ledger that is both tamper-proof and accessible to every actor in a supply chain.

The result, the research states, will be to “reduce retailers’ costs by streamlining supply chains; offering simpler regulatory compliance and efficient food recall process”.

The technology could also improve confidence in the provenance of food at a time when consumers are increasingly concerned about industrial food production, “fake food” and sustainability.

Juniper’s research says blockchain could make food scandals, such as the 2013 European ‘horse meat’ problem, less likely. Consumer confidence was rocked when horse meat was found in products labelled as beef and lamb, while 2014 research showed that British consumers were being sold a raft of fake food products.

Research author Dr Morgane Kimmich said: “Today, transparency and efficiency in the food supply chain are limited by opaque data forcing each company to rely on intermediaries and paper-based records. Blockchain and the IoT provide an immutable, shared platform for all actors in the supply chain to track and trace assets; saving time, resources and reducing fraud.”

FURTHER READING: Breakthrough in race to deliver credible lab-grown meat

FURTHER READING: US food co-operative to pilot Mastercard blockchain bringing visibility to food provenance

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