Sep 26, 2018
Blockchain is still in its early stages, and questions about best practices, costs to companies, how it will be regulated and the technology’s ability to deliver remain. But Walmart has decided it’s seen enough to move forward. The decision — and the performance of IBM’s blockchain program in the months ahead — could send waves across the industry.
Walmart will require all fresh, leafy greens suppliers to implement digital, end-to-end traceability of their products using blockchain by September of next year. IBM, which began testing its blockchain services with Walmart, Kroger and other food companies last year, will provide the software and support for suppliers.
Frank Yiannas, Walmart’s vice president of food safety, said the retailer plans to establish compliance deadlines for other fruit and vegetable suppliers over the next year and it is becoming a business requirement, it’s a part of our supplier agreements.
Blockchain serves as a digital ledger that compiles information across the supply chain in a secure, decentralized fashion. In the food industry, it’s touted as a way to quickly and accurately trace products back to their source and provide full transparency for retailers and consumers. Walmart began testing blockchain in 2016, when it traced Chinese pork and fresh mango back to their sources.