Blockchain and big data
The supply chain technology blockchain is one way food and beverage companies may enhance transparency and gain the trust of more consumers.
“The technology is fantastic,” Mr. Robach said. “We’ve had great success with it. Right now the big challenge is how do you get all of the players in a supply chain engaged in blockchain? You’ve got to incentivize the whole of your supply chain to get involved. For us that means we have to figure out how to incentivize a cocoa farmer in Ghana to participate.”
Cargill has successfully used blockchain in its turkey operations. Mr. Robach conceded Cargill chose turkey because it was an easy process. Using the technology with such traditional commodities as corn, wheat and soy, for example, will be much more difficult.
“We have wheat from two or three harvests waiting in bins for blending,” he said. “These are things that are going to be very challenging.”
Data analytics, which Mr. Robach also called “big data,” is another tool manufacturers may use to ensure and enhance food safety.“From my perspective, we do a good job of collecting data; we don’t do a very good job of analyzing it and identifying trends,” he said. “To me this will get us ahead of the curve. It will let us be proactive instead of reactive.”