Majid Al Futtaim, owner and operator of the Carrefour franchise in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has joined IBM Food Trust, a blockchain-enabled global ecosystem for the food industry run on IBM Cloud.
Carrefour will become the first retailer in the region to offer new levels of insight and transparency to its customers about the provenance of their food via end-to-end visibility on products throughout its supply chain, promoting increased quality, credibility and safety for its shoppers.
The initiative will start with two initial product categories, Carrefour's own fresh chicken brand and microgreens harvested from select in-store hydroponic farms, before expanding into more product lines. All participants in this initiative across the supply chain will benefit from a smarter, and more sustainable food ecosystem. The digitization of transactions and data provides a more efficient way of working across the supply chain for growers, processors, shippers, retailers, regulators, and consumers.
By using their smartphone to scan a QR code on participating products such as Carrefour's fresh chicken, customers will be able to get immediate access to actionable food supply chain data, from farm to store shelf. The history of the product, including production process, halal and hygiene certifications, date of birth, nutrition information and temperature data, will be readily available once uploaded onto the blockchain.
The growing demand for food traceability is evidenced by research conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), showing that 73% of those responding to a survey said traceability of products is important to them. Of those who said it was very important, 71% of respondents indicated they are willing to pay a premium for brands that provide it.
"Trust in the food supply is becoming increasingly important worldwide, a trend accelerated by changing consumer demands and the subsequent health and wellbeing concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic," CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Retail said. "It is therefore imperative for us to invest in ensuring quality throughout the value chain while simultaneously working to build robust customer trust and loyalty. In meeting the new market expectations, we are now offering enhanced food traceability for our valued Carrefour customers and improved operational efficiency for our business."
Majid Al Futtaim, which is the exclusive franchisee for Carrefour in over 30 markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, operating a portfolio of more than 350 outlets and an online store, is engaging with its supplier partners to enable broader participation in this initiative. This move is giving Carrefour customers access to traceability details across diverse products throughout the UAE, before introducing it to its other Carrefour markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
"Thanks to the availability of advanced cloud-based, blockchain technology and the commitment of Majid Al Futtaim to deliver the highest quality to its customers, we are proud to be using this supply chain solution to provide the very best in quality, safety and trust to our customers in the markets we operate in," Nalla Karunanithy, chief digital officer at Majid Al Futtaim Retail said.
IBM Food Trust uses decentralized ledgers to record transactions in a verifiable way. Through a collaborative blockchain network, critical information such as product origin, transportation, and ingredients, can be logged effectively and accessed quickly by permissioned participants across the value chain and ultimately customers.
Today's announcement is the latest tech-forward initiative in Majid Al Futtaim's digital transformation of its Carrefour operations, following numerous innovative developments including Automated Click & Collect, Mobile Scan & Go and the launch of an online marketplace, utilizing the latest in state-of-the-art technology.