Why does food tracked with blockchain sell better? 8 uses of blockchain in the food industry

Julia

26 Sep 2019
Why does food tracked with blockchain sell better? 8 uses of blockchain in the food industry

The next time you put some lettuce in your basket, you might be able to find out exactly where it came from using blockchain technology. All the information will be out in the open – whether or not it was washed or the date it was picked up by the store. A waste of time? If that were the case, companies that use this kind of tracking for food would not see an increase in sales.

If you were given the choice between two different types of lettuce, one that was tracked with blockchain and one that has a regular tag, I can almost guarantee that after reading this article you will choose the former. Before your client does something similar, use this opportunity to take advantage of this knowledge. There are 8 reasons why food sold with the help of blockchain tastes better.

Blockchain in stores, restaurants, and hospitality establishments

The blockchain is a dispersed database in which the input data is immutable. This is possible because the data is stored in the form of blocks set up next to one another. Each new piece of information is a new block, connected to the previous blocks in such a way that block “B” always contains the time of creation and an encrypted summary of the previous element, block “A”. Simply put, it is a chain of blocks (hence “blockchain”), in which the data is impossible to falsify or modify.

The food industry uses the advantages of blockchain to track and save the “life-cycle” of the food items, and the automation of cumbersome processes. Together with the maturing of this technology, blockchain stops being associated exclusively with Bitcoin. We can, however, establish a certain analogy – an electronic currency is the answer to a reduction in trust towards financial institutions. Now, huge chains of stores and restaurants, as well as the smaller companies, can use blockchain to prove that they deserve trust from the public.

Blockchain is a safe chain of blocks - food industry (Nextrope)

Transparency is vital to earn from clients

In Poland, a lack of trust towards the food industry grew after the scandal in Masovia. It was a winter evening earlier this year when the television station TVN ran a report revealing how dangerous the practices in slaughterhouses are for the health of consumers. The journalistic investigation soon shook the rest of Europe – companies illegally purchased sick cows for slaughter, despite going against health and hygiene regulations. Furthermore, a journalist hired in one of those companies found out that the workers themselves, not a licensed veterinarian, confirmed the cows to be fit for consumption. In the meantime, products from these suspected companies were being sold in stores, and the authorities tried to locate them using… company invoices.

Incidents like this are difficult to forget. Already, 8 out of 10 consumers check where their food is coming from before buying it (Elementar UK). Customers often end up not buying a product if they suspect that it has been infused with antibiotics or contributed to the production of a significant amount of waste. How can we reassure customers? The data needs to be reliable, thorough, and easily accessible. In a system based on the blockchain, a copy of the database is available for everyone who joins the chain to see (for example a customer scanning a code). There does not need to be any trust for middlemen or even the store that created the system – the data is impossible to manipulate.

A chain of blocks – a chicken example

On the website of the supermarket chain Lidl, I keep coming across these instructions: information about the product can be found on the back of the package. Upon removing a pack chicken legs from the freezer and checking the back of the package, I see the ingredients, recommended storage conditions, the expiry date, a list of allergens, and the name of the company (but not the name of the farm). 

If those same chicken legs were in a system based on the blockchain, I would start by scanning a QR code. I would then learn that the chicken was born on the 26th April at a large farm in Turkey, during its first day alive, it was vaccinated against five illnesses; the animal ate non-GMO food with known ingredients. The chicken was sent to the slaughterhouse on the 7th July at a weight of 2.44 kg, where the veterinarian confirmed that it was not given any antibiotics, and the company confirmed the legitimacy of the quality check. A few kilometres further away, a Lidl warehouse picked up the chicken legs from a truck and directed them to the particular store, in which I do my shopping every Friday. At least that is how I imagine this to work, because to receive all this information, the store would need to go to a significant effort to collect evidence from all its partners.

Preventing poisoning means preserving reputations

Proof of identity, according to customers’ demands, was trialled by Carrefour. It took 15 days for the supermarket chain to collect all the proofs in all the formats – including on paper. After introducing a system of control over the the import on the blockchain, over two weeks of reading the data was reduced to just over two seconds. The information was generated in simple tables and maps because they were in the system from the very beginning.

If the products were not fit for consumption, it would be possible to track those products using conventional methods, but experts admit that by the time this happened, everyone would already be ill. The products keep coming, the chain of distribution becomes increasingly complex, and stores promise top quality food. In the case of recalling certain items, the stores hit the headlines and the distributor rarely takes the brunt of the responsibility. Following several cases of food poisoning at Chipotle Mexican Grill, the restaurant’s shares dropped by 45% and their sales by 37%. A well-built system warns of any faulty items before anyone even reports their first symptoms (and before it hits the internet). The item never reaches the supermarket shelf. 

It can be said that business is business, but in the case of illness it is much more than that: protection of human health and lives.

Guarantees ensure a feeling of safety

If you can vouch for something personally, you become more trustworthy in the eyes of the clients. Naturally, that equates to the trust these customers give you, and the choices they make.

A famous trick used by KFC to increase sales, that is ‘today, the chickens delivered by Adam,’ is possible to apply in large stores for the first time, because you can write that the yogurt on the shelf was made by grandma. But the consumer needs proof, and that proof comes in the form of using the name of a man who is so sure of the quality of his products that he does not hesitate to place his signature on the package. It is enough for the employee to confirm his identity at the production stage for which he is responsible. At the same time, it is in no way reminiscent of celebrity clichés bought. We know that the slogan ‘recommended by Gordon Ramsay’ is printed on packaging in bulk and guarantees ... effectively nothing.

Good advertising stands out

Certificates are becoming an increasingly vital part of the marketing strategy. Gone are the days when consumers were indifferent to the actions of enterprises for sustainable development or how they care for the environment. The best evidence for this is the "Fairtrade" labeling that has tripled the sales of Milka and Dairy Milk chocolates.

Food products with a certificate of quality are usually more expensive than their counterparts that do not have these certificates. On the other hand, the lack of clear directives in the European Union leads to situations where the "eco-carrot" differs from the regular carrot by its positioning on the shelf. Blockchain can convince customers that this might be the case everywhere else, but not at your store.

Registration of certificates in this chain of blocks allows for quick and easy verification of authenticity and validity of granted certificates. Since September 2017, all new or updated certificates in Poland have a QR code that can be read using a smartphone. The system performs verification, and it takes just a second to know everything about the veracity of the declaration, its conditions and the dates between which it applies. It is easy to forget how much effort was needed to get some of this data.

Convenience as an incentive

Simple to use for both the company and the user, QR codes do not require double-checking by the employee or manually entering the data. The customer needs only to scan the product to see its certificates and all of its history. The customer may not know that the technology that enables him to shop more healthily than previously is called blockchain. At Nextrope, however, we are observing growing public awareness of the blockchain and its capabilities.

In the case of mobile applications, we consider the UX (User Experience) elements to be key, which is associated with UI (User Interface). The first time an app is launched is usually not the last – that is why investing in the system is not everything that matters. Note that customers will use the smartphone with one hand, maneuvering between successive alleys. The way from the farm to the plate is a lot of information - there is no time or space to list it all, but when condensed into something more accessible, too much is omitted, unless the scanner catches the QR code. The application must be simple and accessible, and only then will the user return to it with pleasure.

Scanning a QR code by phone - food industry and blockchain - Nextrope

Regular habits as an advantage over competitors

Soon shopping, especially in the department of healthy food, will start to feel strange without scanning QR codes. Carrefour is the first network to develop a habit of inquiry, and a very powerful network at that. Consumers used to this network will pick up items in other stores in search of the black and white code. Since these other stores have not decided to introduce QR codes, customers will be justified in their anxiety that the store is hiding something - because why else would it not share its data?

Freshness equates to the customer satisfaction 

Shops with pseudo-health food are a scourge. Even if the food is healthy, its storage leaves much to be desired, for example olive oil exposed to the sun for too long simply loses its properties. In this case, when preparing meals, it is better not to think for too long whether or not adding olive oil to the salad salad on it makes any sense health-wise.

The supply chain is worth integrating with the data stored on the products themselves (in the form of a bar code or QR code), as well as commonly used sensors (such as RFID). The process starts on the production line, where sensors alert the producer about any irregularities and record the general condition of the goods. Measurements can be taken all the way up to the time of purchase. Based on this data it is easy to estimate when any potential corruption will occur and, in the spirit of Zero Waste, prevent it in the future. Notifications draw the seller’s attention to bad carrots before the customer finds them on the shelf. Several departments further, a parent who scans the code on a package of baby milk checks to see if anyone has already opened it. Demand for goods can be seen on a map. Our problem is not the amount of food, in fact we have too much of it; rather, the problem is its quality.

Trust is profit

The association of a brand with good quality food attracts health-conscious customers like a magnet. Compared to its competition, a store that provides insight into production using blockchain technology inspires more confidence. When Lidl started introducing individual fit products or occasional health weeks, they did so knowing fully well about the halo effect. This trust can be extended further – knowing that these products are perfectly fine to consume, it is also worth for the customer to buy butter, kefir, and flip flops.

But customers will not only reach for more products, they will also be able to spend a lot more money on them; indeed, 72% of millennials are ready to pay extra for food with a positive impact on the environment.

Blockchain technology can, with equal effectiveness, increase prices in restaurants. On the one hand, a customer can buy regular wine, on the other hand, the customer can also buy wine from a sunny, family winery in Italy, where the grapes were left on the bush for longer and were additionally macerated, i.e. putting the grape skins in contact with freshly squeezed juice to soften them. Following fermentation, the wine matures in an oak barrel arranged in a quiet cellar for 2 years, and only then does the host pour them into the bottle that the customer purchases. Ultimately, good storytelling sells.

Nestlé and blockchain

Nestlé's efforts to prove to parents worldwide that their Gerber soups and dinners deserve trust from consumers are suitable for a separate entry. The corporation, among others, advertised that meals for children must meet 500 times more stringent standards than those for adults. At last, the maiden project with solid blockchain foundations was launched.

People want to know, quite rightly, where ingredients they give to their baby have come from. We wanted a product in which trust means something.

- Chris Tyas, Nestlé's supply chain director

At the time of writing this article, the company convinces customers of this by promoting the addition of three types of vegetables and fruit in one meal: puree from sweet potato, apple and pumpkin. Impatient parents are waiting for test results, and if Gerber actually introduces new technology, it may dominate the sale of these baby foods.

Is this a good time to introduce blockchain to a company?

Please verify whether or not I can give this to a two-year-old.

Hi, I wonder if these flakes are really organic, or if this is just marketing again ...

Does anyone know anything about this farm and its composition analysis. I try to eat healthy, should I order their food?

If eating dilemmas were not such a huge part of our everyday life, countless queries of this type would not appear in online forums about healthy lifestyles. Increasingly aware consumers do not fall easily for the packaging with a green leaf on it. We can safely say that until now, the only thing that has kept us from tracking the supply chain was the enormous amount of work that would have to be put into collecting data from incompatible IT systems.

You do not have to look far: when introducing blockchain to a company, it is worth choosing products that we are proud of and that adequately represent the company – picking just one is enough. Walmart started with mangoes, Auchan with carrots, and Carrefour with chicken, and not even a year went by when the networks had to take their initial plans into account - the sale of "blocked" products exceeded all expectations.

According to the new plan of the French network, by the end of the year customers will be able to scan 100 new products, and in three years all the products that belong to the quality brand. It is rare to see such enthusiasm from a supermarket chain – Carrefour boasts of the "halo effect" and announces that tracking the supply chain with blockchain will expand with clothes. Hopefully they will be true to their word.

The food industry can sell better

Shops, restaurants and farms that implement blockchain to track the supply chain are seeing a significant increase in sales, which is nothing unexpected. In the wake of further scandals and food fraud, disclosing the history of selected products is the best way to win the trust of your customers and to make consumers happy with their purchasing decisions. Customers transfer high-quality associations to all products in the range or menu.

To increase the convenience and pleasure in shopping for users, it is worth investing heavily into mobile applications. Blockchain technology in the food industry has even greater potential in combination with AI (Artificial Intelligence), with buyers always getting fresh food, and the company avoiding a loss in reputation when recalling goods.

Consumers want to be more and more aware of what they are eating, and their food quality requirements are increasing. Furthermore, major brands have already begun to introduce customers to scanning QR codes before purchasing items.

So, which lettuce are you going for?

Julia Wolińska

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Authorization and Identity: Chainlink Use Cases

Karolina

14 Feb 2024
Authorization and Identity: Chainlink Use Cases

Chainlink stands at the forefront of enhancing security and compliance within smart contract-enabled blockchain networks. By enabling direct access to real-world data, Chainlink ensures that blockchain applications can operate with the same level of trust and verification as traditional systems. This integration is crucial for a wide range of applications, from financial services requiring Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance to any form of digital agreement that needs to securely verify the identity of parties involved.

Overview

Chainlink is a decentralized oracle network that plays a critical role in bridging the gap between smart contracts on blockchain networks and real-world data. It enables smart contracts to securely interact with external data.

  • Decentralized Data Oracles. Chainlink's network of decentralized oracles ensures that data fed into smart contracts is accurate and tamper-proof, mitigating risks associated with relying on a single data source.
  • Smart Contract Connectivity to Real-World Data. It facilitates the seamless integration of external data sources, such as financial market data, weather information, and much more, enabling smart contracts to execute based on inputs from the real world.
  • Chainlink VRF (Verifiable Random Function). This feature provides a secure and provably fair source of randomness for blockchain applications, crucial for gaming, NFTs, and any application requiring random number generation.

READ: "What is Chainlink"

When it comes to authorization and identity verification, Chainlink's role becomes even more crucial. By connecting smart contracts with external data sources, such as governmental identity databases or digital identity verification services, Chainlink enables the creation of blockchain applications that require verified human identities. This capability is essential for applications that must adhere to regulatory standards or for those seeking to mitigate the risk of fraud.

Moreover, Chainlink's decentralized nature ensures that the process of identity verification is not only secure but also resistant to manipulation. By leveraging multiple independent oracles to fetch and validate data before it's provided to a smart contract, Chainlink ensures a level of reliability and trustworthiness that centralized data sources cannot match. This decentralized approach to authorization and identity verification opens up new possibilities for blockchain applications, making them more accessible, compliant, and secure for users around the globe.

The integration of Chainlink's decentralized oracle network into the domain of authorization and identity verification heralds a new era of security, efficiency, and compliance for blockchain applications. By leveraging real-world data and external verification services, Chainlink enables smart contracts to perform functions that were previously unthinkable in the blockchain space. Here, we explore several key use cases where Chainlink's technology significantly impacts authorization and identity verification processes.

E-Signatures

In the digital age, e-signatures have become the norm for legally binding agreements, eliminating the need for physical presence or paper-based documents. Chainlink oracles facilitate the integration of blockchain applications with leading e-signature providers like DocuSign. This integration ensures that e-signatures can be verified and recorded on the blockchain, providing immutable evidence of agreement and authorization. Furthermore, by enabling smart contracts to interact with e-signature solutions, Chainlink opens the door to automated contract execution based on the completion of digitally signed agreements, thereby streamlining business processes and reducing the time and cost associated with manual verification.

Biometrics for Smart Contract Authorization

Unstoppable Domains uses Chainlink oracles to enable users to tie their off-chain Twitter identity to their on-chain Ethereum domain name (Source: chain.link)

Biometric verification offers a high level of security and convenience for identity verification, leveraging unique physical characteristics such as fingerprints or retinal patterns. Chainlink enables smart contracts to securely access and verify biometric data, ensuring that only authorized individuals can trigger certain actions on the blockchain. This use case is particularly relevant for access control systems, secure transactions, and identity verification processes that require a high degree of trust and security. By connecting smart contracts with biometric databases and verification services through Chainlink oracles, blockchain applications can achieve a new level of security and fraud prevention.

Credential Verification

Credential verification is crucial in numerous applications, from financial transactions requiring proof of funds to access systems demanding specific security clearances. Chainlink oracles play a pivotal role by securely relaying credential verifications from external systems to the blockchain. This capability allows smart contracts to automatically verify users' credentials in real-time, facilitating seamless transactions and interactions that require verified identity or authorization credentials. For example, a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform can use Chainlink to verify a user's creditworthiness or asset ownership before allowing them to participate in lending or borrowing services.

Social Media Identity and Domain Names

The integration of social media identities with blockchain applications enhances user experience by providing more intuitive and human-readable identifiers, such as domain names or social media handles. Chainlink oracles facilitate this by securely linking off-chain social media identities to on-chain addresses or domain names. This use case not only improves the usability of blockchain applications but also adds an extra layer of verification, as users can easily confirm the authenticity of the parties they are interacting with.

Intellectual Property Management

Chainlink's decentralized oracle network enables smart contracts to interact with external IP databases for verifying ownership and facilitating transactions related to intellectual property (IP). This application is particularly useful for copyright and trademark management, patent licensing, and royalty distribution. By automating IP verification and transactions through Chainlink, creators and owners can more efficiently manage their rights and receive payments, while users gain access to verified IP assets.

Contribution Bounties in Open Source Projects

Open-source projects can leverage Chainlink oracles to automate the verification of contributions and the distribution of bounties. By connecting smart contracts with public code repositories like GitHub, Chainlink allows projects to automatically track contributions, verify the fulfillment of predefined conditions, and release payments to contributors. This application streamlines the contribution process, incentivizes open-source development, and ensures that contributors are fairly compensated for their work.

Conclusion

Chainlink significantly impacts blockchain, enhancing security and compliance, especially in authorization and identity. It bridges real-world data with blockchain, ensuring trust and wider adoption. As blockchain evolves, Chainlink's innovations promise a more inclusive digital future. Its key role in securing and streamlining blockchain applications marks a crucial step forward for digital interactions. Chainlink is pivotal for a secure, compliant, and efficient blockchain ecosystem, shaping the future of digital transactions.

If you are interested in utilizing Chainlink or other blockchain-based solutions for your project, please reach out to contact@nextrope.com

Chainlink vs. Avalanche: Exploring the Blockchain Frontier

Karolina

13 Feb 2024
Chainlink vs. Avalanche: Exploring the Blockchain Frontier

Chainlink emerges as the bridge between the real world and the blockchain. On the other side, Avalanche flashes through the blockchain space with a lightning speed platform that promises scalability without compromise. Both are revolutionaries in their own right, yet their paths are markedly different. Chainlink's quest to secure the integrity of off-chain data in a decentralized manner contrasts with Avalanche's mission to redefine blockchain's scalability and usability. But what happens when these paths intersect?

Overview

Chainlink is a decentralized oracle network that plays a critical role in bridging the gap between smart contracts on blockchain networks and real-world data. It enables smart contracts to securely interact with external data.

  • Decentralized Data Oracles. Chainlink's network of decentralized oracles ensures that data fed into smart contracts is accurate and tamper-proof, mitigating risks associated with relying on a single data source.
  • Smart Contract Connectivity to Real-World Data. It facilitates the seamless integration of external data sources, such as financial market data, weather information, and much more, enabling smart contracts to execute based on inputs from the real world.
  • Chainlink VRF (Verifiable Random Function). This feature provides a secure and provably fair source of randomness for blockchain applications, crucial for gaming, NFTs, and any application requiring random number generation.

READ: "What is Chainlink"

What is Avalanche?

Overview

Avalanche is a highly scalable blockchain platform designed for decentralized applications (dApps) and custom blockchain networks. It distinguishes itself with its emphasis on scalability, speed, and eco-friendliness.

Key Features of Avalanche

  • High Throughput and Low Latency. Avalanche boasts a high transaction output rate with low latency, making it an ideal platform for scaling dApps and financial solutions.
  • Eco-friendly Consensus Mechanism. Unlike proof-of-work (PoW) systems that require significant energy expenditure, Avalanche uses a novel consensus mechanism that is energy-efficient, contributing to a more sustainable blockchain ecosystem.
  • Scalability and Interoperability. The platform supports the creation of multiple custom blockchains that can interoperate seamlessly, facilitating a diverse and scalable ecosystem of applications.

READ: "Avalanche’s Investment in Real-World Assets Tokenization"

As blockchain technology continues to evolve, understanding the nuances between different platforms and solutions like Chainlink and Avalanche becomes increasingly important. Here's how these two blockchain giants stack up against each other:

Underlying Technologies and Architectures:

  • Avalanche utilizes a unique consensus protocol known as Avalanche consensus, combining the benefits of classical consensus algorithms with the decentralized nature of blockchains. This protocol allows for high throughput, quick finality, and energy efficiency.
  • Chainlink, on the other hand, is not a blockchain but a decentralized network of nodes that provide data to blockchain networks. It uses a network of independent node operators who are incentivized to provide accurate data to smart contracts.

Consensus Mechanisms:

  • Avalanche employs a Proof of Stake (PoS) model designed to be lightweight and energy-efficient. Validators participate in reaching consensus by staking AVAX tokens, contributing to the network's security and governance.
  • Chainlink does not use a consensus mechanism in the same way a blockchain network like Avalanche does. Instead, it relies on a decentralized network of oracles to validate and relay data, ensuring the integrity of information provided to smart contracts.

Chainlink is best suited for applications that require secure, reliable, and tamper-proof data inputs from the real world. This includes:

Avalanche is optimized for a wide range of blockchain applications needing high throughput, quick finality, and scalable infrastructure, such as:

  • Scalable DeFi platforms and DEXes.
  • Enterprise blockchain solutions.
  • Custom blockchain networks (subnets).

Examples of Real-World Applications and Partnerships:

  • Chainlink has partnered with Google Cloud for cloud data integration and with numerous DeFi platforms like Synthetix and Aave for price feeds and randomness.
  • Avalanche has formed partnerships with Deloitte for enhancing security and speed in disaster relief platforms and with top DeFi protocols to build on its highly scalable network.

Ecosystem and Community

Development Community and Ecosystem Support:

  • Both Chainlink and Avalanche boast robust and active communities. Chainlink's community is highly engaged in developing external adapters and securing data for smart contracts. Avalanche's community focuses on developing dApps and custom blockchain networks.

Tools, Resources, and Support:

  • Chainlink offers extensive documentation, a vibrant developer community, and grants for projects integrating Chainlink's technology.
  • Avalanche provides developers with comprehensive resources, including tutorials, technical documentation, and funding for ecosystem growth through the Avalanche Foundation.

Tokenomics and Market Performance

  • LINK (Chainlink's token) is used to pay for services within the Chainlink network, including data requests to oracles. It incentivizes node operators to provide accurate data.
  • AVAX (Avalanche's token) serves as the native currency within the Avalanche network, used for transaction fees, staking, and governance.
  • In terms of market performance, both LINK and AVAX have shown significant growth and adoption, reflecting their utility and the demand for their respective network's services. However, their performance can vary based on overall market trends, technological advancements, and adoption rates in their specific use cases.

LINK vs AVAX

Potential for Integration

The potential for integration between Chainlink oracles and Avalanche’s blockchain platform is substantial. Chainlink’s decentralized oracles can provide Avalanche-based applications with secure and reliable real-world data, enhancing the functionality and scope of Avalanche’s already fast and scalable blockchain. This integration can benefit a wide range of applications, from DeFi and insurance to gaming and prediction markets, by providing them with the essential data needed to operate effectively and transparently.

Conclusion

Chainlink and Avalanche, while serving distinct purposes within the blockchain ecosystem, demonstrate a powerful synergy when combined. Chainlink’s ability to provide secure, reliable, and decentralized data complements Avalanche’s high-throughput, scalable blockchain platform, enabling developers to build more complex, useful, and transparent applications.

READ ALSO: "Chainlink vs Polkadot"

If you are interested in utilizing Chainlink or other blockchain-based solutions for your project, please reach out to contact@nextrope.com