Carrefour has boosted its sales by using blockchain tracking, as reported by Reuters.
According to Reuters, the French retailer has used blockchain technology to track meat, milk and fruit from farms to stores, something that will be extended to 100 more products, in an attempt to increase customer trust. So far, blockchain information has been released for 20 items such as chicken, eggs, raw milk, oranges, pork, and cheese.
Carrefour’s blockchain project manager Emmanuel Delerm told Reuters that “You are building a halo effect – ‘If I can trust Carrefour with this chicken, I can also trust Carrefour for their apples or cheese.’” He also added that “Millennials are buying less but buying better products for their health, for the planet.” So, in this sense, blockchain’s ability to trace the journey of an item and confirm the origin of products or the welfare of animals, is something that is particularly appealing to a younger generation interested in ethics and a greener planet.
While millennials are eager to find more about the products they serve on their tables, the farmers themselves are reluctant in sharing too much information. As Delerm told Reuters, “There are still challenges to blockchain tracking however – particularly in tracking fruit and vegetables sold loose and sourced from a number of farms. There is also some resistance from farmers to sharing too much information.”
How does it work?
The blockchain system was built with IBM blockchain which has been collaborating with various retailers, growers and logistics firms to track global supply chains. Customers can scan a QR barcode of an item with their phone and find out information about its origin, the time it was harvested, where it was cultivated and by whom, when it was packed, its journey to Europe and even details about how to serve it.
Tracing, cataloguing and selling products through blockchain technology has been particularly popular among shoppers in China, Delerm explained. There, consumers are already accustomed in using their mobiles to scan QR codes. Shoppers from Italy and France followed, “with some people spending as long as 90 seconds reading the provenance information.”
In the future, Carrefour wants to extend its offering to a wider variety of products such as clothing, as well as, deliver more detailed data “such as how much the farmer gets out of the shelf price.” Blockchain’s transparency and irreversible sharing of information is used in new and creative ways to improve the way we perceive and consume food itself. It almost creates a virtual map of products and how they connect to humans, indulging our curiosity, but also involving us as consumers in the process of production and consumption. In many ways, it is helping to boost, not only sales, but also our ethics, no longer as passive, but as productive consumers.