What Is the IBM Blockchain Food Trust?

Fresh produce packed in crates ready to ship will be tracked through IBM blockchain technology.
Fresh produce packed in crates ready to ship will be tracked through IBM blockchain technology.

IBM Food Trust is a solution built on IBM Blockchain technology to connect growers, wholesalers, processors, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. The aim is to enhance visibility and accountability across the food supply chain.

Within the Food Trust, participants collaborate through permissible, immutable, and shared records of food provenance, processing details, and transaction data. The solution benefits members with a safe, smart, and highly sustainable food ecosystem.

The Food Trust is the first of its kind. It allows transaction partners to assuredly and securely share information. Overall, the collaboration enhances a clearer and trustworthy universal food supply chain. Food across the world has become available to consumers worldwide, regardless of the location, season, or environment.

Why a Blockchain-Based Food Trust?

This blockchain solution works to ensure transparency for the expansion of the food system. Authorized users get instant admittance to actionable food supply chain data. That data comes right from the farm and ultimately to the consumer. Information concerning any food item and related intel becomes readily available in seconds. This includes test data, certifications, and temperature data.

Users can quickly and seamlessly locate items within the supply chain in real-time. They can query food product identifiers like Universal Product Code or Global Trade Item Number using the product name and filter the dates.

Modules of the IBM Food Trust

IBM Blockchain Food Trust provides organizations with a set of integrated modules to address the growing complexities in the food supply chain. The modules include:

  • Food safety: Participants can securely trace products in seconds. This helps mitigate the spread of foodborne diseases, cross-contamination, and waste.
  • Food freshness: The solution provides unprecedented discernibility into supply chain data. Users gain valuable insights and analysis. They can easily identify inefficiencies while ensuring the quality of goods sold.
  • Sustainability: The solution digitizes essential documents and certificates to optimize information management, ensure authenticity, and certify provenance.
  • Reduce waste: Participants easily share and manage data across the food supply chain. The result is increased efficiency, an optimized ecosystem, and reduced product loss.
  • Food fraud: The solution enhances full transparency by making digital transaction records. It also stores them in a devolved and immutable manner to reduce the risk of fraud across the food system.
  • Brand story: IBM Food Trust empowers consumers, manufacturers, retailers, producers, and suppliers. This boosts confidence and trust in the companies that people purchase and consume their food from.
  • Supply chain efficiencies: Through the solution, participants can use shrewder procedures across a shared food system. They’re better able to identify process inefficiencies, scale with automation, and leverage data insights for demand foretelling. The result is better business optimization for continuous growth.

 In the long run, the modules enhance trust building within the industry.

Benefits of the IBM Blockchain Food Trust

Business value and savings depend on the category of products, brand value, and company size. However, benefits across the board include:

Greater Brand Trust

Consumers have numerous options as far as buying food is concerned. Brand differentiation is crucial in such a competitive food market to remain on top of purchasers’ minds. Sustainability is a primary differentiator in a crowded marketplace.

Consumers want more than just nutritional information. They now demand to know where the food they buy came from and how it was grown. With more details and visibility about the food they consume, buyers can make more informed decisions.

Increased Supply Chain Efficiency

Inefficiency in the food supply chain is a persistent problem worldwide. And it was made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inefficiencies affect consumer pricing negatively, cause an increase in the carbon footprint, and contribute to food waste. The United Nations reports that 1.4 billion tons of perishable food go to waste because of food supply chain inefficiencies.

Participants in the IBM Food Trust can run a more efficient food network to eliminate bottlenecks in the supply chain. A collective digital food supply chain based on blockchain technology comes in handy to enable chain participants to collaborate more efficiently and adapt to change.

The Food Trust also creates a shared and secure record of transactions. It allows room for unprecedented visibility in each step of the chain. Participants can achieve new levels of trust and transparency for safer and smarter food from farm to form.

Enhanced Sustainability

The Food Trust helps participants build a sustainable food network across the globe. This is crucial as consumers continue to demand to know more about their food. A sizeable portion of the population says that the food they buy must be grown sustainably. As the global population continues to boom, companies must look for ways to decrease their ecological footprints.

Consumers are more inclined to companies that balance between the social, economic, and environmental impacts of producing nutrient-rich foods without harming the environment. Through the sustainability module, producers and retailers can share their journey from farm to shelf, along with sustainability practices, provenance, and ingredient sourcing information.

Improved Food Safety Monitoring

Food recalls are a significant safety concern and a threat to profitability. Companies affected by recalls incur direct and indirect costs. These include lawsuits, penalties, brand damage, and lost sales. Huge food stocks go to waste, society and businesses are affected, and consumer trust goes down the drain.

The IBM Food Trust provides a digital food system that allows participants to access tools and data for food safety. They also become proactive contributors that work towards bettering the entire food system. With the digitized records enabled by blockchain technology, trust and transparency increase for a better food system and safer food.

IBM Food Trust Core Blockchain Capabilities

The IBM blockchain solution provides a basis for a trusted and permissible environment for food transactions. The aim is to encourage participants to collaborate in a purposeful yet secure manner. The essential components of the solution include:

Trust Anchors

These are participants in the Food trust network collectively responsible for upholding the integrity of the shared ledger. They include retailers and food suppliers. They also maintain the integrity of the shared ledger to help meet security, privacy, and permission guarantees.

Remote Deployment

Business participants form the Trust Anchor channel. They do this by deploying their peer computing environments remotely in the preferred cloud offered by IBM. Alternatively, they can do so on-premises where they can install and connect to the IBM Blockchain platform.


The platform has a rich set of APIs to deepen the ecosystem and increase value for partners and members. They serve as the programmatic version of UI-based modules to ensure data is only available in a self-developed environment. APIs are also useful for 3rd party integration. These include consumer apps, inventory tracking, temperature monitoring, and supply chain management apps.

Smart Contracts

Smart Contracts rely on pre-defined business rules to reduce dispute resolutions based on trusted and immutable data. Any participant can install a peer and instantiate a Smart Contract to automate supply chain decision-making. Smart Contracts run on private channels where only interested parties can access the encrypted data.

Why Join IBM Blockchain Food Trust?

Blockchain solutions are creating an impact in various industries, the food industry included. IBM Food Trust operates on a secure and reliable platform that recognizes the critical factors for collaboration and action of all participants in the food system.

If you’d like to get onboard to IBM Food Trust, you must upload data about your product lifecycle from harvesting to transportation. There is no need to know about blockchain as experts in the field will help you. You can learn more about how it works on our Blockchain 101 resource page.