Blockchain has found a solid footing in the food industry by fixing the industry’s critical issues

FinanceFeeds Editorial Team

Back in early 2019, a Decrypt article mentioned that one of the ways people could buy pizza using Bitcoin was to order through Pizza For Coins. Pizza For Coins, which began in 2013, has ceased its operations. It is used to aggregate restaurants’ menus and let customers pay for their orders in Bitcoin via its own website.

Back in early 2019, a Decrypt article mentioned that one of the ways people could buy pizza using Bitcoin was to order through Pizza For Coins. Pizza For Coins, which began in 2013, has ceased its operations. It is used to aggregate restaurants’ menus and let customers pay for their orders in Bitcoin via its own website. 

In Decrypt’s words, “We don’t know if “Pizza for Coins” even works, but that goes for most things in crypto, tbh.” The hardcore crypto enthusiasts might find those words shocking. But that’s how things were a few years ago. There were dozens, if not hundreds, of sketchy projects that allowed users to buy pizza using Bitcoin and altcoins. They would take crypto from customers, convert it to fiat to pay the restaurant, and take a cut in the process. Most of them vanished in the so-called “crypto winter” of 2018-19.

Trust and transparency

Blockchain usage in the food industry was limited. Due to the buzz around cryptocurrencies, many believed blockchain was useful only in finance. Even well-established restaurant chains such as Chanticleer Holdings were using blockchain only for loyalty programs. 

The technology has since come a long way – not just because it has now become easier to pay for dinner in crypto, but because the food industry has begun using blockchain to solve problems that have haunted it for a long time.

Blockchain is a digital, peer-to-peer ledger that stores encrypted data that nobody can tamper without consensus and without leaving a permanent trail for all to see. Its immutable and transparent nature has given the food industry an opportunity to improve the supply chain, customer experience, financials, and more. Blockchain is helping the food industry:

  • Quickly identify the source of contamination in food products and issue a recall
  • Reduce wastage in the supply chain
  • Prevent food tampering and false advertising
  • Help restaurants escape the predatory practices of food delivery apps that control all the data and charge hefty commissions
  • Enable restaurants and specialty food stores to raise funds directly from their customers
  • Certify the sourcing and origins of products

The Netherlands-based peer-to-peer food ecosystem Bistroo connects restaurants directly with their customers with an unparalleled focus on transparency and trust in their relationship. If restaurants need funding to make improvements and stabilize their operations, they could raise funds directly from their community using smart contracts. The investors get a fixed percentage of the sales revenue over a specified period of time, along with the interest.

Food ordering platforms have exploded in popularity because of the convenience they offer to users. But they take up to 30% commission on orders and control all the user data and payouts, making it difficult for restaurants to survive in an industry that operates on razor-thin margins.

Bistroo is enabling restaurants to run their own loyalty and advertising programs. Customers, on the other hand, have full control over their data. If they choose to share their data with restaurants, they are rewarded with Bistroo’s native BIST tokens. Besides fiat, users can pay restaurants in BIST, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, and other cryptocurrencies.

Elsewhere, Walmart has been using blockchain in its supply chain, which could help it trace the source of food contamination and issue product recalls at a blazing fast speed. Last year, an E. coli outbreak in the US was traced back to leafy greens. Walmart now requires all its suppliers of leafy greens to upload the data on the blockchain to track the produce from farm to store.

The Swiss food products giant Nestle also uses blockchain technology to trace the origins of its Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee brand Zoégas. Customers who buy the coffee could view all the information on farmers, roasting period, time of harvest, and more by scanning a QR code. It brings unparalleled trust and transparency between brands and their customers. 

Conclusion

Blockchain has accelerated the shift towards customer empowerment and improved transparency. The technology is helping the industry avoid food wastage, limit the damage caused by food contamination, and nurture a whole new level of relationship between restaurants and their customers. We will, in all likelihood, see blockchain address many more problems facing the food industry in the years to come.

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