Consumers want to know where and how their foods are manufactured or processed, and many popular CPG companies accommodate that demand with information on their packaging. However, when it comes to the fish industry, consumers have been left in the dark, until now. A new blockchain certification system created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Viant allows consumers to track their fish product’s history from where it was caught to how it reached the market.
The new system was developed in late December in hopes of increasing sustainability efforts and informing eco-conscious consumers. The new blockchain technology – a software that tracks the product manufacturing process and creates a permanent, tamper proof record – can significantly improve the food supply chain in the fishing industry. This allows for the production of safe and sustainable fish products while minimizing the risks of pathogen contamination.
For example, a yellowfin tuna caught in Fiji will be immediately tagged with a QR code that is verifiable by Viant’s and WWF’s blockchain system. From that point on, this fish will be traced by the system which will record its journey to a restaurant in Los Angeles and help WWF and its partner SeaQuest verify that this product is from a sustainable fishery.
“It’s immutable, verifiable proof that the yellowfin tuna you got in a restaurant was caught in Fiji, went through X distributor and arrived at the restaurant you’re now eating it today,” Tyler Mulvihill, Co-founder of Viant told Fortune.com.
Mulvihill went on to say that participants have options when it comes to what they need to upload to the blockchain. For example, the fishers that caught the yellowfin tuna could either upload a picture of the fish or a video. Instead of using a QR code, distributors can also use RFID to access the record.
Although this technology is rather new to the fish industry, many companies have already incorporated blockchain traceability into their products. Last summer, Walmart partnered with IBM in testing blockchain tracking for pork at their Chinese locations and mangoes in the US stores. The project was a success and will likely lead the supermarket giant to incorporate blockchain into other food products in their portfolio.
Australia-based global food company Beston, has developed a similar mobile blockchain application called Oziris, which traces the history of their food products by scanning the QR code on their packaging. The unique application also provides nutritional information, producer details and product reviews for items.
These new traceability trends in the food industry are indicative of the rising consumer interest in food production methods. If blockchain is introduced by more major corporations, this might become a new standard for food manufacturers as they try to keep up with changing consumer demands.