Raw Seafoods Inc., Fall River, Mass., and IBM, Armonk, N.Y., announced a new collaboration connecting global sourcing partners, retailers and restauranteurs who will begin using IBM Food Trust platform to enhance seafood traceability. Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, the initiative will start by digitizing the supply chain for scallops sourced from the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery in New Bedford, Mass.
Here, a fleet of scallopers will begin uploading data about their catch onto the platform, enabling distributors and retailers to identify exactly when and where a given lot of scallops was harvested. The platform will also track when the boat landed portside, and when each scallop lot was hand graded, selected, packed and shipped to its final destination. This information, as well as images and video, is uploaded via satellite while still offshore. Once uploaded, this information is then available to permissioned parties, including distributors, suppliers, retailers and their customers at point of sale.
The technology will address a number of problems, including widespread seafood fraud and mislabeling.
From a sustainability standpoint, the data gathered and stored on blockchain can help fishing boats source more strategically, providing boat owners a direct connection to the “last mile” in the distribution channels.
“We are always actively engaged in helping our suppliers, retailers and restaurants deliver a product that’s well above the industry standard for quality and freshness,” says Daniel McQuade, vice president of marketing for Raw Seafoods. “With IBM Food Trust, we found the perfect tool for establishing a direct link between the consumer and the captain of the boat that caught their fish, empowering shoppers and diners to demand more from their food supply chain.”
“IBM Food Trust has helped some of the world’s most respected food brands and grocers improve consumer trust, address inefficiencies and promote supply chain integrity,” says Rajendra Rao, general manager of IBM Food Trust. “Traditionally, tracing the origin of a given food product could take days, if it was possible at all, especially for wild-caught sea scallops. By reducing that timeframe to a matter of seconds, we’re able to solve three of the core consumer concerns that deter them from enjoying seafood—safety, sustainability and authenticity.”
Initial participants in the new ecosystem include Santa Monica Seafoods, Santa Monica, Calif. TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Orange County, Calif., and Santa Monica Seafoods Market & Cafes will be among the first to serve scallops traced using Food Trust.
“This data will help us forge a more direct and fruitful partnership with the captains and crew that are harvesting the seafood we serve,” says Tom Hope, director of food and beverage at TAPS Fish House & Brewery. “Not only will the data help us be more strategic as a business, we think customers are going to love it.”
Raw Seafoods also plans a consumer-facing app, connected directly to the Food Trust platform, which will allow consumers to access information about their scallops directly from the menu or point of sale in the retail locations by scanning a QR code.