As much as the world loves food, the industry faces a variety of challenges. There are defective food products, false food labeling, and careless behavior from organic food producers. Not all but some companies like to hide undesirable ingredients in their foods under sneaky labels. How do you identify them and what method do you have available to report such sneakiness? Large food retailers want to be responsible for what they are selling. However, it is difficult for them to track the supply chain information of a product and make it easily available for the consumers to view, verify and authenticate.
The Challenges of Food Industry
The food industry is facing many challenges and they are of different natures. Recent statistics from WHO (World Health Organization) show that contaminated food is the reason for every one-in-ten persons who fall ill. Contamination is nothing new in this world. People have been adding water in milk for centuries to earn abnormal profits. Food distribution has become a complex matter due to globalization. You have groups of people looking to create standards to make these processes safe. Then you have people trying to take advantage of the situation to fatten their pockets.
Contamination in food products is taking place all the time but only the big issues take the limelight. For example, 2013 was a big year for getting people’s attention towards their food when three men in UK were found selling horsemeat. Everyone understands the health risks of such frauds in the food industry. What many people don’t realize is that it is costing them a fortune too. Food frauds have grown to become an enormous giant costing the world up to $15 billion every year.
Sneaky labels are another common problem in the food industry. Many companies are busy deceiving their customers by using jargons. They would use terms that look different but mean completely different. These foods contain unusual amounts of sugar but label them as high in energy.
Verifying the Supply Chain Is an Arduous Mission
One of the issues with singling out food frauds and doing something about them is the complexity of supply chain. When a retailer wants to know the origins of the ingredients of an item, they have to trace it back to the farms where each ingredient was produced. Imagine how much time it would take to do that for one product, and then for a thousand more. Packed items with hundreds of ingredients in them are a completely different story. A single, natural, and wholesome item can be a challenge for food investigators.
Take the example of Wal-Mart. At one point, the giant food retailer of the US had to spend nearly a week to trace a mango’s origin. The retailer is experimenting with blockchain to bring the supply chain information as part of its operation. However, it is not difficult to realize how critical every second is when an epidemic breaks out.
Blockchain to the Rescue
It is important for the food industry to bring safety by the use of blockchain. But, it would be far more impactful to the society to bring the verified supply chain information to the palm of the consumer. The best effort that you can admire in today’s blockchain buzz is from Bonafi. Bonafi’s NFC-enabled crypto-tags are the best solution not only to the frauds in the food industry but counterfeiting in other industries too. Fraudsters cost the world billions of dollars every year. It is not enough to catch a few culprits here and there. Counterfeit and food fraud have become underground industries.
How Bonafi Will Help
Bonafi has come up with crypto-tags that can easily attach to products of any size. A producer can attach the bonafi crypto-tag to every single crate, package and shipment that leaves for distribution. These tags will contain information about the origin of every ingredient within the package. Moreover, the tag will continue to store more information on it as the food items move from level to level in the supply chain. The consumers can install the Bonafi app. Using the app, they will be able to scan the tag to know the origins of the product and every ingredient in it.
Bonafi’s Crypto-Tag is a cryptography enabled NFC tag, hence, impossible to duplicate. Once a piece of information stores on the blockchain – the decentralized servers – there is no way to change it. In fact, the nodes in the authentication chain will know instantly when someone attempts to change the information. This would make Bonafi’s authentication system trusted and used widely around the world.