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Supply never seemed more important than it did during 2020. The need for expedited delivery of items, rapidly shifting inventories, and changes in customer demand were rapid-fire. Among others, the food and beverage industry began to rely on blockchain to help better manage their supply chains. Not only did they discover that blockchain was effective in managing shifting circumstances, but it also provided transparency. Here are some examples of blockchain’s impact during the pandemic.

Blockchain and Supply Chains

Blockchain as a platform, and not as a cryptocurrency mining technology, is a secure digital log in which every single entry becomes a link on the chain. It is safe because no one can change the threshold once the access has been made. Blockchain’s built-in security makes it a highly accessible and transparent record of transactions. Anyone can view it, but no one can change it.

Blockchain’s transparency allows agencies, manufacturers, and customers to accurately track items across the supply chain at high rates of speed. As a result of its security and efficiency, the Food and Drug Administration suggested blockchain as a resource to trace contaminated food and identify its origin. But, its use is also helpful for manufacturers and consumers on a more day-to-day level.

Product Tracing and the Consumer

IBM partnered with J.M. Smucker to put IBM’s blockchain directly to use. J.M. Smuckers’ 1850 coffee brand is a single-origin coffee because the coffee beans originate from one location and are never mixed with beans from other sources. Consumers can use blockchain to keep 1850 accountable for its claims.

The coffee packaging contains Q.R. codes that customers and manufacturers can track. The QR codes connect to Farmer Connect, the IBM blockchain platform designed for food tracing.

Paul Chang, the leader of IBM’s Distribution and Industrial Markets, believes that this is only one step toward introducing companies to blockchain’s use and benefits.

The world learned how fragile our supply chains could become when faced with the stresses of a pandemic. Food can very quickly spoil when disruptions occur. Producers lose profit, and consumers can become ill. Blockchain is an agile, transparent technology that has proven its ability to mitigate fragile supply chains by offering real-time tracking technology within a secure platform.