Helping the Australian red meat industry establish if blockchain technology could be used to improve supply chain traceability and authenticity.
In the Australian meat and livestock industry, demonstrating the origin of meat is crucial to ensure food safety, quality and determine the conditions upon which that product was produced.
This is especially important for products exported to overseas markets where the risk of fraudulent products disguised as Australian beef being sold to consumers is high.
The sales of such products pose health and safety risks and harm the Australian beef industry’s reputation as a provider of high quality products.
Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) recognised that blockchain technology could potentially be incorporated into the Australian beef supply chain to determine the provenance of Australian red meat products exported to overseas markets.
We partnered with MLA to understand how Blockchain might be applied in the Australian red meat industry and identify the potential benefits and challenges it could bring to two specific beef supply chains.
Working closely with the MLA, CGI performed two proof of concepts (PoCs), one with each of the major suppliers, Stockyard (A premium producer of high quality Angus and Wagyu) and Teys (One of the largest meat processors and exporters in Australia).
Both PoCs were to engineer a label for beef products that consumers could scan to prove the provenance of their chosen product. Our team selected Quick Response Codes (QR) to function as the labelling system due to their widespread use on IOS and Android systems.
Traceability data would be entered into an application via a web interface and then printed onto a QR code stamp. All data regarding the provenance of the beef is stored in blockchain and immune to change negating the risk of fraud.
When beef arrived at a point of purchase, the buyer could then use QR labels to retrieve information from the application to verify where their product has come from as well as information regarding its carbon footprint and standards for ethical treatment.
The project demonstrated that provenance could be achieved using blockchain despite the amount of supply chain stakeholders and biosecurity regulations. It also demonstrated how brands could build trust with consumers by using this technology to determine if their products fit within their personal standards.
Supply chains are a highly promising area for the application of blockchain technologies. The neutral ground provided by a blockchain can help integrate disparate participants in a supply chain, and the integrity and audit trail in a blockchain supply chain ledger will improve transparency and confidence within the industry.
Consumers will benefit from the transparency and immutable nature of a blockchain, allowing them to purchase with confidence in respect to the origin of the product. Future iterations of the solution will have the added benefit of recording, product type, frequency of purchase and the location of purchase.
The project referenced in this case study was delivered by Unico, which CGI acquired in March 2022.