The Role of Big Data and Blockchain In Addressing Food Supply Issues
Tue, April 20, 2021

The Role of Big Data and Blockchain In Addressing Food Supply Issues

Blockchain and analytics can help keep our food safe / Photo Credit: zimmytws (via Shutterstock)


Each year, 600 million people are confined to hospitals due to contaminated foods and more than 800 million go hungry each day, as reported by Qlik of GovInsider, a platform that showcases public sector innovation. Making food sources sustainable and ensuring the safe preparation of food are some of the challenges that many countries continue to face. But never fear, for blockchain and big data will help address problems plaguing the food industry. 

Data analytics helps in keeping our food safe. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has unveiled its new Qlik-powered data dashboard to “track the extent to which food safety measures are implemented” in the US. The Food Safety Dashboard will monitor rogue companies who may be deviating from approved food-handling guidelines and track how much time they take to respond in food contamination cases. A separate dashboard called the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) Public Dashboard— also powered by Qlik- makes food and drug safety reports available for the public. This motivates firms to be more responsible and accountable. 

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a company based in the Philippines, is trying to make crops more resilient to climate change. And Qlik’s data dashboards bolstered the firm’s productivity. The dashboards and IRRI’s research on more than 3,500 varieties of rice enable farmers to understand how to increase their yield. Moreover, farmers can also easily gauge a grain type’s susceptibility to certain diseases and pests and whether they can survive extreme weather.  For the firm, visualizing the data on the dashboards allow the team to manage finances effectively so that funds are allocated to more transformative projects.  

Food supply chains are shrouded in mystery. That means customers, restaurants, and supermarkets don’t know where the food will come from. Blockchain provides a way for stakeholders to track and record each step of the food’s journey. For example, Australia’s BeefLedger imports beef to China via blockchain, enabling customers to access information on how the cows were raised and transported. 

Overall, data analytics, blockchain, and advancements in the agri-food sector will make our food more sustainable and safe.