Believe it or not, the technology that brought you Bitcoin is beginning to make waves in the food manufacturing industry. This technology, called blockchain, is a digital ledger maintained across several computers, then linked through a peer-to-peer network. The system's design makes it difficult to change, hack or modify the data. In the past few years, however, this service – initially designed to protect cryptocurrency investments – has been revamped as Blockchain 2.0, allowing the same security to be available for transactions of any kind. This 2.0 design is known as Blockchain as a Service (BaaS).
In 2020, many flaws in the current food supply chain were exposed, not only in America, but globally. Pandemic panic buying led to food shortages around the world resulting in a rise in theft, fraud and counterfeiting – three sure ways to increase foodborne illness outbreaks. The benefits of blockchain become obvious in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak. Traceability can be reduced to seconds, so the response is greatly accelerated, potential product loss is minimized and long-range costs and damage to the brand can be significantly reduced.
Food manufacturers that have adopted traceability systems always benefit financially from the insights it provides into operations. It breaks down along three areas:
There are some challenges to implementing a BaaS system into your facility, such as costs associated with implementation and ongoing usage, potential consultation services prior to implementation, resources to commit to the implementation process, and whether or not the technology is widely accepted among your manufacturing ecosystem.
Evaluating both the benefits and challenges associated with moving toward a BaaS tracking system should help you progress in the decision-making process. However, before you pull the trigger, there are a few more evaluation tools to consider.
Blockchain 2.0 is just the beginning in terms of elevating the tracking capabilities for food manufacturers. If you are considering implementing this technology, you can plan for the future through early adoption and can also reduce costs in your compliance and partner relationships, all while securing a single source of truth for your facility.
Not sure if Blockchain 2.0 is right for you or where to start if it is? MEP National NetworkTM experts can help you produce safe, quality food and optimize processes. You can reach out to one of the 51 MEP Centers, located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico for more insights and informational resources.