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March 25, 2020

Blockchain can help track stock provenance

By GlobalData Consumer

As blockchain technology advances, it is a key opportunity for supermarkets to adapt efficiently in spikes in demand and keep levels of concern for provenance low. Looking forward, trust and transparency will have a vital impact in how supermarkets will manage their supply chain and meet the consumer demands from consumers worldwide.

According to GlobalData’s 2019 Q4 Consumer Survey, 56% of consumers agree that their choice for food and drinks are influenced by the source or origin of ingredients. This stat does not represent only the consumer concern for ingredients but a plea for transparency in supply chain.

Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, global consumer behaviour has changed dramatically. This consumer change is especially noticeable in their purchase behavior due to limitation of choice. Shoppers in Europe, USA and Asia have shown frustration in being kept in the dark about how their products are delivered and why supermarkets when items will be restocked. If consumers were asked the same question from GlobalData again, it is predicted that even more consumers would be concerned about the origins of their products and its ingredients and most importantly, when it will be delivered.

Walmart’s blockchain tool for tracking

Blockchain technology is a clear solution to this, as it can help manufacturers, consumers and retailers to better track the provenance of stock. For example, Walmart in the USA has patented a “smart package” system. This employs a blockchain-based tool powered by IBM and Hyperledger Fabric to track package contents, location and environmental conditions for many of their products.

Being one of the only supermarkets to achieve an increase in share price after a detailed efficient knowledge of stock availability and supply chain, it is evident that blockchain helped in Walmart’s supply strategy. Their risk of investing into blockchain after the scare of the Romaine E.coli outbreak in 2018 certainly proved to come through for them.