April 27, 2018

Fonterra begins blockchain technology pilot with Alibaba

Products from Fonterra’s Anchor range have become the first to be shipped as part of a pilot of Alibaba’s Food Trust Framework, using blockchain technology to improve supply chain traceability and transparency.

The products are being shipped from New Zealand to consumers in China, who can purchase them on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

Fonterra President Greater China Christina Zhu says the development continues Fonterra’s commitment to delivering global best practice supply chain traceability.

“Blockchain is an emerging technology that has the potential to transform our economy and provide greater value to our customers and consumers. We want to be at the forefront of developing food quality and safety standards across the supply chain.

“In China and many other markets, we know consumers want to be able to trace the products they purchase online, so we welcome being a part of creating a globally respected framework that protects the reputation of food companies and gives greater value and consumer confidence”, says Ms Zhu.

Alibaba Group’s General Manager of Tmall Import & Export Alvin Liu was in Auckland for launch of the pilot. He says food fraud is a significant global challenge, particularly with the growing complexity of supply chains.

“In response, we have created a coordinated, world-leading and robust framework that involves stakeholders from across the supply chain to improve visibility and enhance the confidence of both end consumers and merchants,” says Mr Liu.

The framework aims to give end-to-end traceability and transparency throughout the supply chain to enhance consumer confidence and build a trusted trading environment across Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

“In addition to blockchain technology, the framework will also tag products using QR codes to authenticate, verify, record and provide ongoing reporting throughout the product’s lifecycle – something we already do with our Anmum infant nutrition range,” says Ms Zhu.

Often referred to as the “internet of trust”, blockchain technology was originally developed to track the transfer of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These technologies authenticate, verify, permanently record and provide ongoing reporting in relation to the transfer of ownership of goods – including food products.

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