Alibaba has launched a blockchain technology initiative to protect the authenticity of the product and improve its supply chain integrity.
The Food Trust Framework is a global Tmall initiative that aims to strengthen consumer confidence and build trust and transparency for cross-border trade through Alibaba‘s global Tmall platform.
The initiative will incorporate standards and controls, including product coding with unique QR codes and blockchain technology, in an attempt to authenticate, verify, record and deliver ongoing reports on products during the shipping process.
The initiative launched a test program with the Australian brand of vitamins Blackmores and the New Zealand milk brand Fonterra, along with Australia Post and New Zealand Post, with PwC acting as a consultant.
The program will include shipping of odorless fish oil products from Blackmores and Fonterra’s Anchor dairy products to China through Tmall Global orders.
If successful, the Framework could form the basis of a global supply chain model applied to all Alibaba Group e-commerce markets.
The move is part of an Alibaba offer to increase the trust of both consumers and suppliers on its platforms as it seeks to build its reputation globally after a number of recent hits.
The initiative is similar to a program launched by Alibaba’s rival JD.com last year, when it collaborated with IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University National Laboratory Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies to launch the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in an effort to improve tracking of food and safety in China. Last month, JD.com launched a program with the InterAgri agricultural company to track the meat sold in China.
Due to the massive expansion of e-commerce, concerns about food fraud increase. According to PwC, 40% of food companies find it difficult to identify food fraud with current methods and 39% believe that their products are easily counterfeited.
Alvin Liu, general manager of Tmall Import & Export, Alibaba Group, said: “Food fraud is a significant global challenge, in particular with the increasing complexity of supply chains. In response, we have created a coordinated, world-leading and robust structure that engages stakeholders across the supply chain to improve visibility and increase the trust of both end consumers and merchants. ”
Richard Henfrey, Managing Director of Blackmores, said: “Blackmores does everything to get visibility on our supply chain and each of our products passes 30 tests and checks before being put on sale.
Therefore, we are exploring ways to harness the technology and data that can provide our consumers with the certainty that their trust in our products is well positioned. Our commitment to quality does not end in our distribution center and we must give consumers confidence in the products they buy on e-commerce platforms. ”
Fonterra Greater China President Christina Zhu said, “Given the potential of emerging technology, including blockchain, we want to be at the forefront of developing food quality and safety standards throughout the supply chain.
In China and many other markets, we know that consumers want to be able to track the products they buy online, so we welcome the creation of a respected global framework that protects the reputation of food companies and gives more value and confidence to consumers “.