ANAHEIM, Calif., March 7, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- During what some are calling the Crypto Winter of 2018/2019, blockchain-centered startups have struggled to survive the shakeout in the adjacent crypto space and separate themselves from the investment mania surrounding tokens. To tackle this nascent market, some blockchain ventures are banding together to educate the world around blockchain's promise —and how it can create real social impact independent of crypto.
Food traceability and supply chain risk reduction are two use cases often discussed as having strong potential to leverage shared ledger technologies. Two such ventures, Seattle-based Transparent Path, and Los Angeles-based Penta Network, have joined forces to bring traceability to US food producers and retailers. The partnership will focus on improving food traceability speed, thus reducing risks related to food-borne illnesses, and allowing consumers to benefit from greater transparency in the food supply chain.
In 2018, the US food industry was shaken by a number of recalls involving food-borne pathogens and contaminants, and with good reason. Serious Class I meat and poultry recalls have risen 83% since 2013, and in 2018, some turned deadly. As stories of the recalls spread, consumers were confronted by the reality that brands they had always assumed were safe, might not be. These incidents included parasites in fast-food salads, salmonella baked into crackers, strawberries with embedded needles, and widespread E. coli outbreaks that killed five.
As consumer awareness of the problem has grown, so have the demands for more transparent, traceable food products. A 2018 report by the Food Marketing Institute and Label Insight revealed that 75% of shoppers indicated they would switch to brands that provided more in-depth product information beyond the physical label.
"Part of the issue concerns family health," said Transparent Path CEO & Co-Founder Eric Weaver. "47% of American households have at least one family member following a diet or health improvement program. When they search for product information, our research has shown a growing lack of trust with the information they find. Currently only 26% of US consumers trust the Organic Certification label. And 89% of these households switch to a new food product when they aren't satisfied with the information provided."
"That's why we got into this business: to arm consumers with data to make their own informed choices. It's also a chance to apply our knowledge and experience to reducing risk — health risk, financial risk, and reputational risk. By using sensors to capture data without requiring a lot of manual input, and by sharing the origins and provenance data of the food among all parties in the food chain, we can trace recalls back to the source far more quickly, and reduce the food waste and unnecessary expense during a recall."
In the new partnership announced at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, the two companies will combine Transparent Path's IoT expertise and US market connections with Penta's proven enterprise-grade blockchain ecosystem.
"In 2017, we pioneered Blockchain Rice, one of the first use cases of food traceability in China, tracking rice from nearly 13 million acres of farmland and making the data available to consumers purchasing the rice from online retailers," stated David Ritter, CEO of Penta. "The benefits of fast traceability and food transparency are incredibly important to consumers. Imagine holding your mobile phone over a product at the grocery store and seeing exactly where it came from, how it got to you, and what happened to it along the way. This is the kind of transparency consumers will demand for all food products in the coming years."
"Blockchain technology makes this possible, as it gives the various parties in a supply chain visibility into product origin and provenance from a trusted data stream," Ritter added. "For example, if a truck carrying frozen beef has a breakdown or a risky temperature violation, product sensors would instantly notify the recipient, perhaps a food processor or distribution center. By identifying the risk early on, we could prevent risk to retailers and consumers. Bad food wouldn't even reach the shelves in the first place. This is going to revolutionize the way we do our food shopping."
Another promising aspect of the partnership is ProofScore™, the "FICO score for transparency" developed by Transparent Path. "You're at the grocery store, and there are two different heads of lettuce," explained Weaver, "one producer has openly shared origin data, growing methods, certifications and logistics data in real time — perhaps even sharing videos from the farm. That product would receive a very high ProofScore. The second head of lettuce has no ProofScore on the label, so the consumer has little idea of where the food was produced. Which would you buy?"
"A few years from now, ProofScore could help a lot of brands," said Maria Emmer-Aanes, VP Sales & Marketing for Numi Organic Tea and an advisory board member for Transparent Path. "Transparency in the food business helps demonstrate the value of organic certifications, and creates appreciation and understanding for the lengths that organic, fair-trade and low-impact food brands go to in service to their customers. These kinds of advancements in food technology create a new level of transparency for consumers eager for more information about where their food comes from."
ABOUT TRANSPARENT PATH
Transparent Path (xparent.io) is a food traceability platform that shows proof of custody for food and consumer packaged goods products. Using IoT sensors and blockchain traceability, the company's ProofPlatform™ provides food producers with the technologies needed to prove chain of custody along the entire distribution process. The company's ProofScan™ mobile app and ProofScore™ ranking system are currently being deployed in the United States.
ABOUT PENTA NETWORK
Penta Network (http://www.penta.global) is a next generation blockchain platform, designed to provide both base-layer public infrastructure and enterprise blockchain solutions. More than 80 leading financial institutions and public sector partners use technology developed by Penta. Penta has raised 30 million dollars in private funding, including investments by Draper Dragon, Node Capital, Block VC and LD Capital. With a mission to use blockchain technology to build a more inclusive and transparent economy, Penta focuses on blockchain projects with real world application. Currently, Penta has offices in Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Melbourne.
SOURCE Transparent Path