Alibaba launches food tracking blockchain trial between ANZ and China

By Addie Thomes

Chinese e-commerce and tech giant Alibaba has unveiled a trial of its Food Trust Framework, an initiative that uses blockchain technology to improve supply chain traceability.

With the help of PwC, Alibaba has set up a framework which will see Fonterra and Blackmores ship goods from Australia and New Zealand to Tmall customers in China using the blockchain technology.

Blackmores is shipping Odorless Fish Oil while Fonterra is shipping Anchor dairy products to consumers who purchase them on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

Once the pilot is complete and if successful, the framework could form the basis of a global supply chain model applied across all of Alibaba Group’s e-commerce markets.

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Speaking at the launch in Auckland, Alibaba Group’s Alvin Liu, General Manager of Tmall Import & Export said: “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.”

Food fraud costs the global food industry an estimated $40bn each year, according to research from the Michigan State University. PwC has also estimated that 40% of food companies find food fraud difficult to detect with current methods, and 39% think their products are easy to counterfeit.

Product tagging using QR codes will also be utilised in the trial alongside blockchain – these are designed to authenticate, verify, record and provide ongoing reporting of the transfer of ownership and provision of products and goods.

Australia Post and New Zealand Post are also partners in the trial, and will be responsible for helping to ship the products.

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