A new project will develop technologies and methods that can both document a food product’s path from farm to fork and help prevent plagiarism. The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, heads the project.
Denmark is reputed worldwide to have a high standard of food safety, and Danish food producers are known for producing high-quality products. For this reason, Danish food producers often experience that counterfeit products made with inferior raw materials are sold as “Made in Denmark”.
A new project sets out to change this by developing blockchain solutions that will enable small and medium-sized food producers in Denmark to document and create transparency around the production, safety and distribution of their goods.
By using blockchain technology, the new project will allow a selected group of members to exchange information that cannot be copied or manipulated by others without it being detected.
“Blockchain technology makes it possible to establish a platform for sharing data across the entire farm-to-fork chain in a safe and efficient manner. The finance industry has successfully adopted the new technology, and we believe that it’s time now for the food industry to make use of it,” says Henning Høgh Jensen, who is Head of Division at the National Food Institute and project manager for the new project.
The project is called Bottom-up blockchain value chains in the food sector and is carried out by the Technical University of Denmark, the Danish innovation centre in Silicon Valley and The Danish Industry Foundation, which has granted 3.6 million Danish kroner (DKK) to the initiative in line with the Foundation’s work on blockchain technology in Danish businesses.
“As part of the Foundation’s work on new technologies, we look at things like blockchain technology and aim at creating more Danish experiences with the technology. If using blockchain technologies increases food’s traceability and quality assurance, we could kill two birds with one stone: better documentation of a Danish position of strength and good experiences with a new technology,” says Thomas Hofman-Bang, Managing Director of The Danish Industry Foundation.
Aimed at producers of more expensive products
The project is centered around the companies’ current needs and challenges. As such, the researchers will design solutions that replace some of the current work and documentation processes with a more secure technology. The solution will also be able to incorporate the documentation requirements that export markets and authorities currently impose on the companies.
The Danish food industry employs 186,000 people and annually exports goods worth DKK 166 billion, so there is huge potential.
The project will specifically assist small and medium-sized Danish companies that produce so-called up-market products, which cost significantly more than similar products and therefore are vulnerable to plagiarism. As such, the new project will design the blockchain solutions so they also contain documentation in relation to the raw materials’ authenticity, which will particularly be of value to export companies.
“The technologies we want to develop in the project could also be used down the line to form the basis for labeling schemes that guarantee the authenticity of food products for the benefit of consumers,” Henning Høgh Jensen explains.
Specifically adapted blockchain solutions will be developed in the project by DTU Compute, which has great expertise in this field. DTU Skylab, a number of independent consultants and IT experts from the USA are also participants in the project.