Carrefour expands use of blockchain in food distribution

French retailer Carrefour said on Tuesday that it will expand its use of blockchain technology in its food distribution networks, giving consumers greater confidence in its products.

AFP reports that the supermarket group already uses a blockchain-based food traceability programme for some of the chickens it sells, but hopes to include eight other products—eggs, cheese, milk, oranges, tomatoes, salmon and hamburgers—by the end of 2018.

Currently, chicken farmers in France’s Auvergne region enter information concerning their birds’ rearing, food and processing into a public blockchain, allowing consumers in a Carrefour supermarket to scan a code on the packaging and learn of the food’s journey to the shelves.

“For consumers, it responds to the need for greater and greater transparency, for producers, it allows them to obtain more value from their production and know-how,” Carrefour said in a statement. It also released an infographic explaining its food’s journey from farm to supermarket.

Blockchain’s role in enhancing the security of food distribution netowrks has previously been harnessed in China. Responding to a contaminated baby-milk scandal, which killed six infants in 2008, Walimai pioneered blockchain labelling on baby milk formula to safeguard against tampering.

Initiatives to boost shops’ organic credentials are increasingly beneficial as traditional retailers battle online outlets. AFP reports that Carrefour was the world’s second-largest retailer in 2000, behind only Wal-Mart, but has now slipped to ninth.

The No Bull response: Blockchain is not only about bitcoin as this kind of everyday application demonstrates. Expect more such examples as the technology creeps into the mainstream.