French retail giant Carrefour has attributed a recent increase in sales to its use of blockchain tracking.
Carrefour's blockchain project manager Emmanuel Delerm told Reuters on Monday that the use of blockchain ledger technology to track meat, milk and fruit from farm to supermarket has increased sales of these products.
According to Delerm, blockchain tracking has been particularly successful in China, where shoppers are more used to scanning QR codes. The initiative likewise proved to be popular in Italy and France, where buyers reportedly spend as long as 90 seconds reading merchandise information.
With the firm's blockchain tracking – built with IBM Blockchain – customers can scan a QR barcode on a product with their phone and obtain information such as its date of harvest, farm location and owner, packing date, how long it was transported, and tips on how to prepare it.
“The pomelo [a citrus fruit] sold faster than the year before due to blockchain. We had a positive impact on the chicken versus the non-blockchain chicken,” Delerm said.
Carrefour initially launched blockchain information for 20 items, including chicken, eggs, raw milk, oranges, pork, and cheese, according to the report. Now, the retailer intends to add 100 more products to the system, particularly focusing on products for which consumers want reassurance, such as baby and organic products.
The tech creates a "halo effect," meaning if shoppers feel they can trust one Carrefour product, they will also trust other items, Delerm said.
There are still challenges to blockchain tracking however – particularly in tracking fruit and vegetables sold loose and sourced from a number of farms. There is also some resistance from farmers to sharing too much information, according Delerm.
Carrefour is also working with Nestle, allowing the Swiss food and drinks giant access to its blockchain data for its Mousline potato puree so buyers can see that the produce is sourced from French farms
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