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New Normal, Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0

Trust | Transparency | Traceability

Traceability Becoming a Driving Force

16 September 2021   |  Blockchain, Emerging Tech, Supply Chain, Traceability

The food and beverage market is striving (even after the pandemic with the evolution of cloud and hybrid kitchen models), so much so that there is a new entrant with an exclusive product line every day. It is also one of the fastest-growing industries compared to others. The emphasis on the quality and hygiene of the food is probably the most critical factor when choosing to dine or order food. Post pandemic, Food brands are continuously rebuilding assurance, innovating with fresh ideas, better marketing strategies, and newer ways to earn customer loyalty and trust to their tables. And, what is interesting is the role of technology that simplifies and complements business ideas to the industry; one such case is the use of blockchain to demonstrate Traceability. As Restaurants and Quick Service Food Chains repeat “Moment of Truth” moments every hour, and are one of the only industries, who get to experience ‘instant gratification as they are in direct contact with the end consumer. And keeping all these parameters in purview, Blockchain technology could be tagged as the premier solution to this need for transparency and accountability within the food supply chain.

With the food trends and choices such as Vegan, Plant-based, diet-based meals and organic produce, hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables, Consumers are reaching for items with brighter health halos, ready to pay a premium, and have more interest in food that can promise sustainability and abundance. Restaurants need to follow suit and align, taking their food processing and procurement a notch higher.

Altogether the use of this emerging technology could impact the food industry in the following ways-

Events Criticality: Restaurants can manage their supply chain using emerging technologies – Blockchain, which can further provide visibility to any foreseeable problem areas and trace the time of delivery/serving; the restaurant could have visibility back through its supply chain to pinpoint and solve the problem. Therefore, critical data points like the Freshness index of the ingredients used, core temperature readings, package transfer times and shipping dates could be logged in real-time and reviewed. Via QR scans, the consumer can access pertinent information at the point of delivery; as all the data in a blockchain is recorded and always available, it is also swiftly accessible whenever needed. It can be used as an audit trail for quality assurance.

Consumers Awareness

Nowadays, consumers, too, are interested in making sustainable choices and opting for locally sourced produce, reducing carbon footprint when buying food in any retail outlet. Visibility into the food supply chain helps them understand their food’s product origin, handling, and sourcing and its impact on the environment. Intelligent and informed consumers today demand greater transparency, and knowing all aspects of the food supply chain has ultimately led producers and manufacturers to adopt emerging food traceability technologies rapidly.

For a case: let’s take an example in the business of pizza making and delivery. The two most important things to be kept in mind are to have insulated, thermal pizza delivery bags, Freshness of produce, and most importantly, the preparation of the pizza in a highly hygienic kitchen that will help keep the pizza nice and hot until it gets delivered. Not to forget, the staff is vaccinated, and the whole process is adhering to the covid safety protocol. With increased technology and changing demographics, the future of restaurant operations and management is now brighter than ever. Hence, there is an immediate and continuous need to ensure top-notch customer service at any cost through any mode of delivery to the customers.

Impact: The food industry is one area in which blockchain traceability has the great potential to have an immediate impact. Blockchain stands to reduce these unfortunate (recalls) and preventable(quality) incidents in three ways:

Market Insight

India’s organized food services market is poised to grow at about 10.5 per cent CAGR to $37 billion over FY2020-25E, garnering 46 per cent market share from 40 per cent at present. Over the coming years, the countries fast-food/QSR restaurants will continue to expand further as the global economy improves. According to market reports, among the foodservice space, the Quick-service restaurant (QSR) segment is expected to clock the highest growth over the next 4-5 years. India’s QSR market is expected to clock a compound annual growth rate of 23% between now and the fiscal year 2025. Both chain QSR and standalone QSR segments are also expected to contribute equally to the market’s development during the forecast period

Biggest Threat to food chains: ‘TRUST EROSION’. This is a significant matter of concern/effect for big companies/chains. And it is also a critical test for multinational food companies looking to regain trust. Different entities in the food business understand the importance of gaining consumers’ trust to maintain market share in today’s information-rich, suspicion-saturated business environment. And the key to achieving that consumer trust is all about radical transparency.

Conclusion: For the team of TRST01, TRUST-TRANSPARENCY-TRACEABILITY is three critical components to any company’s overall success. Not only is transparency valuable to the customer, it also benefits the company. By embracing transparency and establishing trust, any organization can exceed customer expectations, improve customer retention, attain brand loyalty, and increase profits.

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