Alibaba launches blockchain initiative to track food delivery

Despite the continued buzz around the potential for blockchain technology to enhance data security in the supply chain, the airfreight industry has seen a slow start to creating tangible application. But this week, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is putting its word into action by premiering its own blockchain-encrypted platform, the Food Trust Framework.

Through the initiative, Alibaba intends to increase accuracy and transparency through its supply chain network, enabling users of its subsidiaries Tmall and Lynx to authenticate, verify and record data throughout the shipping process.

A large part of Alibaba’s e-commerce operation in China is the delivery of foodstuffs and produce. Australian vitamin brand Blackmores and New Zealand-based dairy supplier Fonterra are partnering with Alibaba to be the first to try the Food Trust Framework, shipping products to China via Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

The company says the primary goals of the initiative are to promote transparency between partners within the supply chain and prevent “food fraud” – the act of corrupting food cargo in the form of unapproved additives, misbranding, unintentional contamination or theft.

At the end of last year, JD.com premiered a similar project, Blockchain Food Safety Alliance, within its network in partnership with Walmart, IBM and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratories for e-commerce technologies. The initiative shares the goal of increasing food safety and transparency.

If the new trial is a success, the technology could be implemented throughout Alibaba’s shipping operations and become the basis for a standard in the industry.

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