The Food Waste Problem
Food waste is caused by a variety of reasons relating to supply chain management, from spoilage in transit to oversupply in stores. By solving this problem, food can not only be saved from waste but re-routed to communities and stores in need. A significant portion of food around the world is wasted on a daily basis. In the United States alone, 40% of all food is never eaten, putting to waste valuable resources which could be allocated elsewhere, solving many of the world’s problems.
Supply chain logistics is big business, especially in the food industry. Data is key to understanding the most optimal ways to run an efficient supply chain and reduce costs. The entire supply chain analytics market is expected to reach $4.8 billion by next year. Companies such as Spoiler Alert and SafeTraces are working towards food waste solutions via sensor tracking and data analysis. To date, they have been met with limited success as they have trouble inserting in each step of the supply chain efficiently and effectively.
The Decentralized Solution
By utilizing RFID and other IoT sensors along with the distributed ledger of the blockchain, food companies along the supply chain can reduce waste by optimizing processes. Sensors track the temperature, humidity, and other key indicators which can notify a supplier when products are about to spoil. Additionally, these sensors can be used by grocery stores to determine the quantity of supply which needs to be routed to each store based on current supply levels. Recently, Walmart performed a test to track the source of their Mangos using blockchain technology. It took 2.2 seconds for the company to trace the products back to their source in China, compared to several days of tracking without using blockchain.
Big-name food suppliers and companies are experimenting with blockchain technology for food services. A global consortium of industry giants, such as the aforementioned WalMart and Nestle, among others, has partnered with IBM to utilize blockchain solutions in their supply chain.
The supply chain and logistics blockchain company VeChain has partnerships with several food supply companies including the $25 billion Bright Foods and the multi-national food products company, Danone.
The Russian-based INS Ecosystem is re-inventing the grocery industry to track inventory and aid in selling directly to consumers. Automatically reducing prices should significantly reduce food waste in the industry.
Dan is a freelance cryptocurrency and blockchain content writer. He has written content for startups, ICOs, financial planners, venture capital firms, and more. Previously he founded an e-commerce company that grew to $1 million in revenue and profitability in less than 3 years. Dan has a degree in Economics and Finance from Bentley University.