Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia – owner and operator of the Carrefour franchise in these regions – and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Majid Al Futtaim has joined IBM Food Trust, a blockchain-enabled global ecosystem for the food industry run on IBM Cloud.
Carrefour will become the first retailer in the region to offer new levels of insight and transparency to its customers about the provenance of their food via end-to-end visibility on products throughout its supply chain, promoting increased quality, credibility and safety for its shoppers.
The initiative will start with two initial products categories, Carrefour’s own fresh chicken brand and microgreens harvested from select in-store hydroponic farms, before expanding into more product lines. All participants in this initiative across the supply chain will benefit from a smarter, and more sustainable food ecosystem. The digitisation of transactions and data provides a more efficient way of working across the supply chain for growers, processors, shippers, retailers, regulators, and consumers.
By simply using their smartphone to scan a QR code on participating products such as Carrefour’s fresh chicken, customers will be able to get immediate access to actionable food supply chain data, from farm to store shelf. The history of the product, including production process, halal and hygiene certifications, date of birth, nutrition information and temperature data, will be readily available once uploaded onto the blockchain.
The growing demand for food traceability is evidenced by research conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), showing that 73 per cent of those responding to a survey said traceability of products is important to them. Of those who said it was very important, 71 per cent of respondents indicated they are willing to pay a premium for brands that provide it.
"Trust in the food supply is becoming increasingly important worldwide, a trend accelerated by changing consumer demands and the subsequent health and wellbeing concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hani Weiss, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Retail. “It is therefore imperative for us to invest in ensuring quality throughout the value chain while simultaneously working to build robust customer trust and loyalty. In meeting the new market expectations, we are now offering enhanced food traceability for our valued Carrefour customers and improved operational efficiency for our business."
Majid Al Futtaim is engaging with its supplier partners to enable broader participation in this initiative, giving Carrefour customers access to traceability details across diverse products throughout the UAE, before introducing it to other Carrefour markets operated by the company in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
"Thanks to the availability of advanced cloud-based, blockchain technology and the commitment of Majid Al Futtaim to deliver the highest quality to its customers, we are proud to be using this supply chain solution to provide the very best in quality, safety and trust to our customers in the markets we operate in,” Nalla Karunanithy, Chief Digital Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Retail said.
IBM Food Trust uses decentralised ledgers to record transactions in a verifiable way. Through a collaborative blockchain network, critical information such as product origin, transportation, and ingredients, can be logged effectively and accessed quickly by permissioned participants across the value chain and ultimately customers.
Today's announcement is the latest tech-forward initiative in Majid Al Futtaim's digital transformation of its Carrefour operations, following numerous innovative developments including Automated Click & Collect, Mobile Scan & Go and the launch of an online marketplace, utilising the latest in state-of-the-art technology.