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What role does blockchain play in traceability?


SER Team, London, United Kingdom


For all the hype of the past two years, blockchain, and its application in increasing supply chain transparency, is still widely misunderstood. Blockchain can play a critical role by providing a trusted record of products as they are moved and transformed through the supply chain. Still, it requires three things: 1) digitally-enabled stakeholders 2) a strategic mindset of cooperation and transparency and 3) a compelling business case suitable to drive leadership, change and transformation. By itself, blockchain is not a silver bullet that can make an industry more sustainable. What it can do is to provide a platform upon which the industry can build trust through transparency.


There is considerable pressure across the food industry to provide evidence of sustainability and to provide assurances regarding a food’s provenance and safety. There are numerous articles, case studies and reports on how blockchain can be the ultimate panacea to address these challenges. As business leaders, it is essential to differentiate between the hype and the reality - between what is possible in the future and what can be done today - between the perceived benefits and measurable business impact. So exactly where is blockchain being used in the food industry today, and where can it best be deployed for maximum impact in the near term?



Before discussing how blockchain can support supply chain traceability, it is essential to have an understanding of “What is blockchain?”


Boiled down to its essence, a blockchain is nothing more than a series of entries in a log. Think of this as a series of rows in an Excel sheet. Every entry contains information related to the transfer or transformation of an asset.

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