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What Supply Chain Innovation Will Save Food Industry From COVID-19?

The unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak has tested the resiliency of the logistics industry’s capabilities, as customers hoarded goods, especially food, creating gaps in their flows to retailers.

Where the World Gets its Fresh Food

The world’s population is dependent on global trade for access to fresh, healthy, safe food. The United States, for example, every year imports 32% of the fresh vegetables, 94% of the seafood and 55% of the fresh fruit it consumes. In total, the EU imports almost 93 million tons and exports 91 million tons of agrifood products every year.

The essential issue brought to light by COVID-19

Some shortages went beyond supply-chain hiccups. According to the Food & Environment Reporting Network (Fern), nearly 30,000 of meat workers contracted COVID-19, prompting the closure of dozens of production facilities and creating bottlenecks in the nation’s meat and livestock supply chains. According to a report from CoBank Knowledge Exchange, meat supplies in the US were decreasing by 30%, leading to retail price increases as high as 20%, a situation likely to persist at least through June.

Meanwhile, some exporters are feeling more anxious than ever with their products delayed at the border. Wine professionals in Bolivia struggling to navigate shifting operations as a result of the pandemic. Because the industry’s supply chain is so intricate and interconnected, shipment delays, packaging complications and other small disruptions have enormous consequences.

“We cannot go back to local - only food chains. We are living in a global food system. We must develop intelligent global food systems which are sustainable, circular and inclusive for smallholder farmers.”

- Heike Axmann, Expertise leader in Bayer’s Supply Chain Development

The Road Ahead

We are at a time when we need to examine food processing technology and deploy it to make us more food secure and ready to withstand the next big challenge. Business owners must focus on building resilience using modern innovation. Reducing costs should not be the only factor that informs our supply chains.

For most of the food exporter and importers during COVID-19, these questions are might be mentioned all the time:

Where is the shipment? When will it arrive?

How can I trust the food supplier?

Were there any issues in the route such as custom delays, excess temperature?

Who is responsible for the delay?

With distributed technology innovation, Blockchain can be used to track and verify data relating to the provenance of a product for use by the end purchaser or consumer.

With blockchain, the physical (product/goods flow) and digital (information flow) supply chain are better connected with the financial side of a transaction.

The incorruptible traceability features of blockchain permit agricultural commodities and food ingredients to be actively traced throughout the supply chain. Therefore, if, as happened recently in England and Wales, production workers tested positive for coronavirus, preceding parts of the supply chain can be reconfigured, products can also get readily recalled, limiting further spread of the sickness, and also lowering the risk of food fraud.

The technology can also solve the trust and traceability issues facing food supply chains today. Whenever the product changes hands, that corresponding transaction is permanently recorded on a shared database that cannot be edited or removed.

Better B2B Payment

With blockchain technology entering the space, access to trade finance, insurance and supply chain finance is increasingly integrated within the supply chain and can be transferred seamlessly. In addition, documentation and data relating to the transaction, such as the purchase and sales orders, can all be triggered and visible as a single source of truth to the respective trading partners and without the need for an intermediary.

Blockchain helps connect the physical and digital supply chain with finance. DELOITTE CONSULTING P/S/

Blockchain in trade finance can help cross-border payments by offering added security, higher transfer speed, and lower conversion fees. Such payments can be further supported with smart contracts, adding more certainty for the sender and receiver. Additionally, blockchain’s ledger than render the varying ledger systems of banks worldwide obsolete, creating a single, clear record of payments.

Blockchain is going to change payments and supply chain, but true innovation comes in many shapes. To learn more about Nu-Credits’s experience in blockchain-based payments, get in touch at

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