California-based Dole Food Company, an agricultural multinational corporation, has introduced a five-year plan to integrate blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) for managing supply chain processes.
Dole Food Company is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. The agribusiness company generated over $4.5 billion in revenue last year. It has 74,300 full-time and part-time employees on its payroll who are responsible for managing more than 300 products in 90 different countries.
Dole markets various food items including bananas, pineapples, grapes, strawberries, and salads. The company also owns a shipping line called, the Dole Ocean Cargo Express.
Dole confirmed in its 2020 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability report that it would be using blockchain to enhance its existing supply chain management systems.
The company first began exploring various DLT-enabled systems after it joined IBM’s Food Trust as a founding member back in 2017.
As described on its official website, the IBM Food Trust is a global ecosystem of producers, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and various other entities that aim to create “a smarter, safer, more sustainable food system for all” by leveraging DLT.
As noted by the IBM team:
“From boardrooms to kitchens around the world, there’s unprecedented demand for a smarter, safer food supply. IBM Food Trust [aims to] deliver transformative business results and unrivaled peace of mind.”
Food Trust connects participants across the food supply via a private or permissioned, permanent “shared record of food system data.”
The Food Trust consists of a “customizable suite of solutions that can [potentially] increase food safety and freshness, unlock supply chain efficiencies, and minimize waste.” Companies can potentially increase their revenue if they use Food Trust.
The Dole team will be upgrading its food tracing systems, which will involve integrating DLT-based product-tagging and incorporating advanced traceability solutions into its supply chain system by 2025.
Dole is already using blockchain to manage its supply chain processes for salads and fresh vegetables. The company reportedly shared its data with a few customers last year.
The Dole team claims:
“Blockchain cuts the average time needed for food safety investigations from weeks to mere seconds.”
“Produce that’s been logged via blockchain can be instantly tracked back through the supply chain, giving retailers and consumers confidence in the event of a recall.”
Dole plans to introduce a consumer-facing feature that will let users scan packages of salad and vegetables to gain access to product information recorded by the supply chain system.
The company noted:
“Eventually, consumers will be able to scan each bag of salad or package of vegetables in-store to get information about its journey from farm to store shelf.”