Is Blockchain the future of food stored in supermarkets?
Today’s market being extremely competitive, more and more retailers are hoping to boost their numbers by offering a smooth shopping experience and automating their back-end operations. Old-line mega chains, e-commerce giants and technology start-ups are working on minimizing the possibility that the customers will procrastinate, forget about the need to make the purchase, go elsewhere or refuse to shop due to poor quality food and services.
With the rapid development of blockchain technology, consumers will be able to buy everyday products at lower prices direct from manufacturers. Blockchain technology can, therefore, shift the grocery industry from a push into a pull-based system. Supermarkets currently follow a ‘push-based’ approach where they ‘push’ the supply of products which consumers see and purchase. A ‘pull system,’ on the other hand, is where supply follows consumer demand. In a decentralized ecosystem, every manufacturer controls their products, pricing, and listings. Manufacturers then receive aggregated customer requests. Afterwards, manufacturers deliver orders to smart distribution centers and couriers deliver orders to customers. One such example is Moscow-based INS, a blockchain-based startup in the grocery world. They recently raised 60,000 Ether (USD 41.5 million) in a public token sale in 2017.
In the meantime, large retailers like Walmart and Kroger are working with IBM and their blockchain network to strengthen food safety in the supply chain. They are testing blockchain technology to trace foodborne illnesses to their source. This process usually takes weeks with traditional record keeping but now takes seconds with blockchain technology. Walmart has already run two successful blockchain pilots with IBM: one tracing Chinese and pork and the other tracing Mexican Mangoes. While it may take years before manufacturers sell direct to consumers, supermarkets are currently taking advantage of the benefits of blockchain technology. Whether or not blockchain will wholly disrupt supermarkets, though, is currently dependent on blockchain’s ability to scale and grow.
Robotic Technologies for adopting the Blockchain
Various robotic technologies such as delivery drones and droids, explore shelf monitoring and waste management, plus highlight key opportunities for the adoption of blockchain all these areas of retail, food and grocery industry management. Today, retailers, grocery chains and Internet-based companies deploy high-end technology that offers new ways to shop, receive orders and optimise logistics. Some businesses even go so far as to unlock customers’ to put the packages safely inside. This requires the use of smart locks, keys and cameras to monitor customers’ homes around the clock. Although the technology allows for in-home delivery and scheduled access to recurring visitors, however, it also raises questions of trust and security. Same-day delivery is another area of intense innovation. Here, businesses ‘hire’ pavement droids and areal drones to transport packages. Thanks to technology originally designed to monitor cryptocurrency, Yiannas’ vision is closer to becoming a reality—something that could put a significant dent in the number of foodborne illnesses that occur every year. It’s part of a new program in which IBM is partnering with Walmart, Nestlé, Dole, Tyson Foods, Kroger, and others, to use blockchain technology to track food throughout the complex global supply chain.
Blockchain can be Expanded
Walmart has been using a pilot version of the technology, showing how blockchain can be expanded beyond the financial, health care, and natural resources sectors to be applied to the foods that consumers interact with every single day. Coupled with companies’ efforts to stopfood-borne illnesses early on, this could signal a major moment in how humans keep the food system in check.
In all seriousness, the supermarket has always gone through notable changes, right from inception. Blockchain technology will make sure that owners and customers industry will come together into a single, transparent platform with the evolutions. Blockchain will revolutionize the supermarket industry and take it to greater heights.