IBM’s Blockchain-Based Food Tracing System Adopted By Supermarket Giant Albertsons

News | April 11, 2019 By:

US-based grocery giant Albertsons has joined the blockchain-based IBM Food Trust network and will begin piloting the technology to improve how food is traced from farm to store shelf.

Headquartered in Idaho, Albertsons is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the US, with both a strong local presence and national scale. With more than 2,200 stores and more than 250,000 employees, the company is the second-largest supermarket chain in North America after Kroger, which has 2,778 stores. It has over a thousand supermarkets located in 29 US states under 20 well-known banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as New York Citybase meal kit company Plated.

IBM Food Trust, which was launched in October 2018, uses blockchain technology to create unprecedented visibility and accountability in the food supply. IBM claims that it’s the only network of its kind to connect growers, processors, distributors, and retailers through a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food system data. The network has onboarded more than 50 brands across the food ecosystem, including Walmart, Carrefour, The Kroger Co., Driscoll’s, Dole, Golden State Foods, McCormick and Co., McLane Co., Nestlé, Tyson Foods and Unilever.

IBM Food Trust allows companies to onboard via a variety of options, including offering guided onboarding to help brands customize their solutions and involving IBM Services for consulting expertise. Once onboarded, members have access to Application Programming Interfaces (API) and developer tutorials, which are openly available online through IBM developer Works and which help enable integrations with third-party technologies, enterprise systems, and other data sources.

Albertsons said that it plans to pilot IBM Food Trust to help overcome the obstacles that have existed when a traceback is initiated for a product and is investigating ways to use the technology to help ensure the provenance of its extensive Own Brands portfolio. The company will start using the network for tracing bulk romaine lettuce from one of its distribution centers then explore expanding to other food categories throughout its distribution network.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to be transformational for us as we further build differentiation on our fresh brand,” said Anuj Dhanda, Chief Information Officer of Albertsons Companies. “Food safety is a very significant step, though the provenance of the products enabled by blockchain, the ability to track every move from the farm to the customer’s basket, can be very empowering for our customers.”

IBM said that the addition of Albertsons to the IBM Food Trust network brings blockchain-based food traceability to more consumers and industry players.

“Since first introducing IBM Food Trust, we have met a number of milestones that show the path toward transforming the end-to-end food system,” said Raj Rao, General Manager of IBM Food Trust. “Today, we are further scaling the network to bring blockchain-based traceability to an even wider cross-section of retailers, suppliers and end consumers. By working with the top retailers all over the world, IBM Food Trust is truly helping to provide a safer and more transparent food system for all.”