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Singapore company turns to blockchain to improve food security

SMC Nutrition is using a blockchain distributed ledger developed by a Singapore-based company to gain visibility across its supply chain and ensure food security

To food and nutrition company SMC Nutrition, food security has become a key priority in the face of a growing number of food contamination cases around the world.

Earlier this year, the Singapore-based manufacturer of beverages, sauces and ingredients for baked goods rolled out a blockchain-based service that provides suppliers, distributors, retailers and consumers with information about its supply chain – from the provenance of raw materials to delivery of products.

This information is captured by internet of things (IoT) sensors and uploaded to a distributed ledger hosted on the blockchain service, which was developed by Certis Group, a Singapore-based provider of physical and digital security services.

Consumers can access the information by scanning QR codes on SMC Nutrition’s food products, and be assured of the authenticity of organic or halal offerings, according to Fuji Foo, vice-president for business digitisation at Certis.

Foo claimed there was no room for fraud, since only suppliers and distributors are granted control and access to the information on the blockchain-based service. “Companies will also gain a competitive advantage by providing consumer assurance, and need not compete solely on price and quality,” he added.

That said, SMC Nutrition has been able to improve the quality of its products through the Certis service, which surfaced anomalies – such as changes in storage conditions – within a shorter time period, enabling it to take corrective measures sooner.

SMC Nutrition is one of the three organisations, including a specimen bank, to test the blockchain service.

Foo said Certis is currently working with the specimen bank to ensure data on biological specimens from donors is accurately captured by scanning QR codes. This, he said, will help to improve data integrity and reduce human errors that could occur during manual data entry.

According to market research firm Netscribes, the global blockchain technology market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 42.8% and reach nearly $14bn by 2022.

North America accounted for the largest share of blockchain adoption in 2016, and is expected to dominate the overall market in the near future. However, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to adopt this technology at a faster rate owing to its wide adoption in China and India.

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