Gartner, Inc., Chicago, predicts that, by 2025, 20% of the Top 10 global grocers by revenue will be using blockchain for food safety and traceability to create visibility to production, quality and freshness, as outlined in “Predicts 2019: Delivering Contextualized Customer Experiences Will Be Key for Unified Retail Commerce Success.”

“Blockchain can help deliver confidence to grocer’s customers, and build and retain trust and loyalty,” says Joanne Joliet, senior research director. “Grocery retailers are trialing and looking to adopt blockchain technology to provide transparency for their products. Additionally, understanding and pinpointing the product source quickly may be used internally, for example, to identify products included in a recall.”  

Encryption capabilities on the food source, quality, transit temperature and freshness can be used to ensure that the data is accurate.

Some grocers have already been experimenting with blockchain and developing best practices. For example, Walmart, Bentonville, Ark., now requires suppliers of leafy greens to implement a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain. Other grocers, such as Unilever, UK, and Nestlé S.A., Switzerland, are also using blockchain to trace food contamination.

“As grocers are being held to higher standards of visibility and traceability, they will lead the way with the development of blockchain, but we expect it will extend to all areas of retail,” says Joliet. “Similar to how the financial services industry has used blockchain, grocers will evolve best practices as they apply blockchain capabilities to their ecosystem. Grocers also have the opportunity to be part of the advancement of blockchain, as they develop new use cases for important causes for health, safety and sustainability.”