Last October, Walmart had already announced a partnership with IBM for a pilot project to improve tracking on the food supply chain in China, more specifically to track pork meat, in order to ensure the security of these products.
Walmart is trying to prove itself a champion of food security, with an international effort on the matter. In August, Walmart, together with IBM and an alliance of other companies, launched another blockchain project to improve food tracking and security worldwide.
The addition of another big player of food distribution such JD.com takes now the project on the enormous chinese market, where IBM and Walmart, together with Tsinghua University, launched the aforementioned pilot project.
Regarding the decision of implementing blockchain solutions, Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Industry Platforms, explained:
“Blockchain holds incredible promise in delivering the transparency that is needed to help promote food safety across the whole supply chain. This is a fundamental reason why IBM believes so strongly in the impact this technology will have on business models. By expanding our food safety work with Walmart and Tsinghua University in China and adding new collaborators like JD.com, the technology brings traceability and transparency to a broader network of food supply chain participants.”
Blockchain technology would help in the integration of online and offline processes and to ensure the full traceability of the products, and therefore their quality. The technology would also bring to a standardization of the processes that would enable a greater interoperability among the various stages of the chain and also among the different companies in the alliance.
The final result of the project would be a greater transparency of the food supply chain, an improved food security and an enhanced customer experience, as explained by Frank Yiannas, vice president, food safety and health at Walmart:
“Through collaboration, standardization, and adoption of new and innovative technologies, we can effectively improve traceability and transparency and help ensure the global food system remains safe for all.”