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The Emerging Technology: Blockchain In Food Security

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Food supply chain is a complex system. Food norms are high and consumers have access to more convenient, varied and economically feasible foods. The maintenance of food traceability and security are important attributes to delivering quality food to consumers. The existing food supply chain process is are not very productive for handling food safety at every stage. But blockchain technology is the emerging  trusted digital ledger technology, that can greatly upgrade food safety in each segment ( farm, processing, distribution etc.) of food supply network. It works based on HACCP system. In the current system the data are recorded on the paper in most of the sectors. The blockchain system involves no communication with other parties in the food supply system. It could connect stakeholders (farmers, service providers processors, distributors, retailers, consumers) directly and bring transparency to the system. It can record all the details of a complex network. The modification of records in blockchain is only possible with the modification of all the precedent blocks in the network. Walmart, Nestlé, Unilever, Golden state food companies are experimenting on enforcing blockchain technology to their food network.[1][4]

How does it work?

Analysis of data structure and retention: The data model includes information on parameters such as Name, ID number, from and to location, date, principal name and other information. It also includes sub orders like the nutritional composition are the food products. The information can be accessed through links, different links are assigned for each parameter. The data and signatures are verified by the system automatically after the completion of the process.

Risk Assessment: The system comprehends all the recorded data and identifies the segments where there is a possibility of arising hazard. It analyzes the degree of risk in the food through the rate of non-conformity and conformity. The failure rate is detected by the frequency at which the food product does not confirm to the food standards and the products are unqualified.

Visual Analysis: The visual analysis is an two stage process – micro and macro analysis. Macro analysis uses heat maps to demonstrate the risk in a specific region. The multi-colored highlights based on heat value shows specific regions of interest for later analysis. Further micro analysis is required for finding out reasons for the risk to occur. It uses migration graphs, that draws relationship between the region of risk and force-directed graphs to facilitates visualization of the complex network. This analysis helps food regulators to devise the rules.


  • Farmers record information about their agricultural commodities on the Blockchain
  • Food Processors put on the particulars of processing the food
  • Wholesalers can bid processed food products through smart contracts
  • Accessing to transportation details, retailers can keep a check on the conditions of food products they subsequently receive.
  • At last consumers can look through the details and ensure they’re consuming safe food. The consumers can trace back and check out the details about the food flow on the blockchain supply system. [1][2]

Examples of Blockchain technology Project

Food Retailers CauseResults
French retailer CarrefourAssigned blockchain technology for its food products by signing an agreement with IBMTracked its product in France and Spain. In 2022, the company has plans to track its products in other countries as well.
The United States retailer WalmartPork products were supervised in China through blockchain solution and the import of product from Latin America to the United States. (2016)The product was tracked in  instants, which otherwise would take days. The name, ID number, location etc. all the attributes of the food product were available on blockchain
The United States – based Bumble Bee Foods Traced seafood through blockchain solution by collaborating with SAP (German technology company)Consumers could access to all the details of the product supply chain by scanning the QR code on the package. [3]

Potential Benefits of Blockchain technology

Transparency – Stakeholders including consumers can have access to the characteristics of food products and trace the food product throughout the supply chain. This can efficiently prevent any malicious and illegal practices in the food supply chain.

Sustainability – Blockchain can reduce the vast amount of food waste and cut down on the costs by reducing the food system efficiencies.

Detect Food Fraud – The transparency of the system from the production to marketing of food commodities will discourage anyone from manipulating and preventing food fraud.

Efficiency – It is an automated system, that provides access to all the attributes of food from farms until it reaches the stores. The inaccuracies can be avoided which are likely to occur on data recorded on papers. It also enables quick transfer of information for further measures when there is a risk in any segment of the food supply chain. [1][4]

Challenges in adapting blockchain technology

  • The investment cost of blockchain developers is authentically high compared to usual software developers
  • Shortage of labor to develop the blockchain technology is low due to the lack of skills to develop the technology.
  • Developing countries and underdeveloped countries cannot adapt the blockchain technology as it is expensive.
  • Poor internet connectivity in farms of developing and underdeveloped countries can impose an issue on farmers while accessing the technology.

Blockchain technology can bring transparency and accountability to the food supply system. Globally, it can increase economic and health benefits tremendously. Food fraud, food contamination, food wastage these existing issues can be eliminated  efficiently and that can make the complex system simpler. But presently, it is an expensive model to adapt for many economies, including some developed countries. However, with advancements in the near future the cost of blockchain will be reduced and can be affordable for the food industries of all countries.[1][3]


1.     Yiannas, F., 2022. A New Era of Food Transparency Powered by Blockchain. [online] Available at: <https://direct.mit.edu/itgg/article-abstract/12/1-2/46/9839> [Accessed 17 July 2022].

2.     Hao, Z., Mao, D., Zhang, B., Zuo, M. and Zhao, Z., 2022. A Novel Visual Analysis Method of Food Safety Risk Traceability Based on Blockchain. [online] Available at: <https://www.mdpi.com/677044> [Accessed 17 July 2022].

3.     Nir Kshetri, 2022. Blockchain and the Economics of Food Safety. [online] Ieeexplore.ieee.org. Available at: <https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8720132/> [Accessed 17 July 2022].

4.     Takyar, A., 2022. Food Supply Chain Blockchain- Solving Food Supply Problems. [online] LeewayHertz – Software Development Company. Available at: <https://www.leewayhertz.com/supply-chain-blockchain-reinventing-food-supply/> [Accessed 17 July 2022].

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