Carrefour is betting big on distributed ledger tech. The french supermarket behemoth wants to track 20 percent of all of its in-house products on the blockchain by the end of 2019.
The retailer already uses the technology to track 20 out of its 300 Carrefour-branded products across the supply chain, but it plans to add about 40 more goods to the list over the coming months, Carrefour blockchain program director Emmanuel Delerm told Hard Fork.
The company’s blockchain pilots are currently running in six countries, including France, Italy, Spain, and China. Carrefour customers can access detailed information about the origin of the product they’re buying by simply scanning a QR code on the packaging.
“When we tested this feature in China – we tested it with a Chinese pomelo – we got incredible figures,” Delerm revealed to Hard Fork. “Customers scanned one out of two (or three) pomelos to check where the fruit was coming from.”
Still, Delerm is quick to point out that – culturally speaking – Chinese customers are more prone to trying out new technologies. “In countries like Belgium or Spain, we noticed that customers scanned only about one out of 20 pomelos.”
For now, Delerm says the focus remains on tracking in-house products with blockchain; indeed, Delerm told us Carrefour specifically chose some of its most popular products for the initial pilot. As far as non-Carrefour products go, the company still relies on centralized solutions for supply chain traceability, but that too might change in the near future.
The French supermarket made its first foray into distributed ledgers in 2018, launching a pilot to trace chicken, eggs, and tomatoes on the blockchain. Since then, the company has also experimented with using blockchain to track milk and mashed potatoes across the supply chain.
Although Carrefour partnered with IBM‘s Food Trust initiative for its distributed ledger tracking pilots, Delerm revealed the retailer is also developing its own permissioned blockchain.
Delerm says the supermarket remains devoted to experimenting with blockchain. “The amount of products we track with blockchain will likely increase as the technology continues to make progress,” he added.