Blockchain technology could be the next big thing in food

When we plan our editorial calendar, we try to refer to the chronologies of major events in our industry, so that our coverage is timely.
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So, after planning the May 2018 issue and seeing that the FSMA’s Sanitary Food Transport (STF) rule would come into effect for small and medium-sized businesses the previous month, it seemed to me that probably the STF would be something of the people. the industry would like to know more.
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What I didn’t plan on a year ago is to what extent experts in this field would like to talk about blockchain technology. It seems that in recent months I have received an email with the word blockchain at least once a week. While it’s not as ubiquitous as the Internet of Things phrase, it’s certainly the new buzzword.

I still don’t have a concise way to describe blockchain technology, as I did for IoT, I used to describe it as the toaster that had a Facebook page and posted status updates in the fridge. The best I can do now is to cite other definitions, which describe it as a distributed digital ledger.

When I started interviewing people for the STF article and the blockchain kept popping up, I was really only familiar with it in terms of Bitcoin, which uses the technology to power the cryptocurrency payment system. To better manage all of this, I went to the person I know who owns Bitcoin: the computer support administrator at our office. We had an hour-long conversation about the trend, and when I talked about blockchain in terms of food security, he had a spark in his eyes and said, “Yeah, I can definitely see how helpful that would be.”
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This is the same enthusiasm I found myself in when I interviewed several experts on blockchain technology that is being applied to ensure food security throughout the supply chain. Experts believe that this unlocks the ability of a true end-to-end food safety communication and verification tool, used along the supply chain, from the producer to the retailer, making all information visible to all parties.

Blockchain is just one of the transformative technologies to be seen in the coming years. Some of the others are artificial intelligence and mixed realities (virtual and augmented), which are especially useful in the context of plant operations.

If you’re thinking, “Yeah, these concepts aren’t that new,” I hear you, but what could change the game is the sophistication of the technologies and how they will be applied and used in modern manufacturing facilities.

Also, another important factor to keep in mind is that this 5G will be coming soon, and this could open up many opportunities to connect people, tools and equipment.