Today, the beef industry is facing many challenges that has the potential to hinder future growth. Some of these challenges are arising due to Brexit, market regulation, complex supply chains, safety and traceability requirements, ever-changing consumer trends and demands, and the need for sustainability. Blockchain technology has the potential to mitigate such challenges.
As the world’s fifth largest exporter of beef where 90% of production is exported, Ireland is an obvious choice to reap the benefits of blockchain. To continue to grow our exports beyond the UK and Europe and to compete for a prime position in the so-called “luxury markets”, blockchain can enhance our differentiation and provide us with a competitive edge.
To understand how it works, Deloitte recently launched a report, ‘Beefing up Blockchain’ where we have identified six use cases that demonstrate how Blockchain can strengthen the position of the beef industry by addressing these challenges, and aligning the industry with consumer demands and expectations.
The use cases include:
Grass Fed Assurance-Blockchain technology has the ability to prove with confidence to market regulators, retailers and consumers that cattle are predominantly grass fed and graze on open pastures for the majority of the year.
End-to-End Traceability-Blockchain solutions can be used to clearly identify when Irish beef products change hands. This improves transparency and demonstrates commitment to beef quality and safety.
Trade Finance-Deloitte has re-imagined how trade finance can leverage a Blockchain based infrastructure to drive efficiencies and reduce the exporting cost base.
Consumer Engagement-Building a solution on a Blockchain platform empowers consumers to verify and check the authenticity of products in-store. This may help with consumer confidence and trust.
Consumer Feedback Loop-A Blockchain enabled consumer feedback loop will offer consumers an effortless and comfortable environment for providing product reviews. It could ensure all food chain participants have access to accurate consumer feedback received directly from the consumer
Certification-Blockchain technology can revolutionise how certifications are stored, managed and shared with need to know parties.
Blockchain could bring benefits to each participant in the beef value chain, from the farmers to the consumers. Consumers will have visibility into the behind scenes of the farm whilst a blockchain enabled traceability solution may provide farmers with greater clarity of each participant within the value chain and the value they add. Unfiltered consumer feedback can also be made available to farmers ensuring they understand the quality of their end product and how it can be improved.
No one person or entity will control the blockchain network. To maximise its potential, it must be adopted by a community that shares and validates information on the blockchain. To drive this initiative, stakeholders from the Government, retailers and beef processors are essential.