Peruvian shoppers are weeks away blockchain answering the age-old question first posed in 1984: “Where’s the beef?”
A pilot project by Wong Supermarket, a Peruvian chain owned by Chile’s major retail conglomerate Cencosud, will allow suppliers and consumers to scan and check the provenance of various meat products. The app is a partnership between Cencosud and Citizens Reserve subsidiary SUKU, the Silicon Valley-based supply chain company whose founders hail from the Deloitte Blockchain Lab.
At launch, the consumer-facing app will feature enterprise-level blockchain backend using J.P. Morgan’s permissioned blockchain platform, Quorum.
The platform will be available in 20 different Wong stores and cover all meat products carrying the SUKU logo. Just like a Ⓤ or K emblem signals to Jewish consumers that a rabbi inspected the product, the SUKU emblem will mean that the company has tracked the path of the meat from steer to shelf.
Unlike the kosher certification, however, you can actually dive into the Wong meat’s supply blockchain history and see a record validating each part of the meat’s history.
SUKU CEO Yonathan Lapchik told CoinDesk that this blockchain use case has enormous potential in terms of applications for the wider global consumer goods market.
“You have a large group of consumers that want to buy sustainability, and want to buy transparent products from brands. But they don’t do it today – they don’t trust what the brands are saying. There’s a $1 trillion market sitting there for companies and brands to take if they can speak the same language as those consumers do.”
Even the animals’ health and welfare are tracked, stored and then reviewable on the blockchain, Lapchik said.
“Every time a producer says ‘I vaccinated all the animals, all the animals have their animal welfare certified,’ then the system automatically triggers an input to the party that needs to confirm it, and they will confirm ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and submit the certificate.”
Wong had been one of Peru’s most trusted brands according to the Lima Chamber of Commerce, but when Chile’s Cencosud purchased the decades-old chain for $500 million in 2007, Reuters reported locals went into an uproar, citing fears that the store would change.
But the company has since regained and rebuilt that consumer-facing confidence, winning recognition as recently as 2017 for being one of Peruvians’ most trusted brands.
Now, with the new app and transparent supply chain, Cencosud Peru’s manager of perishables Enrique Ameghino sees this as another way to build trust.
“SUKU and blockchain technology are helping us further develop our relationship with our customers,” Ameghino said in a statement. “It is another avenue for us to communicate with them directly.”
“We are seeing this transition from systems based on trust to systems based on transparency. That’s what Satoshi gave us: That opportunity to bring transparency through technology,” said Lapchik.
Photo by Jonas Nordberg on Unsplash