Giving Thanks for a Blockchain Turkey
Whether your Thanksgiving is rather traditional, a drama filled mess (cue a Van Der Woodsen showdown), a strict family affair (hellooo Rory, Lorelai, Emily and Richard Gilmore), or a Friendsgiving feast (I can do without Ross Geller’s infamous Turkey Sandwich aka the “moist maker”), it probably involves some sort of central food… TURKEY!
For decades, Thanksgiving has meant many things to many people, but almost everyone can agree that a tasty turkey should be involved. You may not think about it but getting that turkey to your table takes quite a bit of effort. And what do you know?
Blockchain is now involved!
Did you know Americans consume around 45 - 46 million turkeys during Thanksgiving? According to the USDA and the National Turkey Federation, that’s about 6 billion pounds of turkey meat! You may buy yours from the local grocery store, Costco, or even Amazon, but do you have any clue where it was before that? Probably not. Do you care? Probably should.
Cargill, the largest private company in the US ($114.7B in revenue) is now allowing consumers to learn all about the farm where their turkey was raised, the farmers who raised them, and more. Consider it “farm-to-table” at scale and it’s all powered by blockchain technology. This year, Cargill has contracted approximately 70 individual family turkey farms to participate in it’s Honeysuckle White Traceability program.
Essentially, the program tracks each bird from the farm, through the processing, and all the way to the retailer. Each Honeysuckle White turkey will have an identification code which can then be entered into a website. From there, the consumer can see the specific farm that raised that exact turkey! This includes information about the farmers, the conditions, the quality, and more. The goal is to be completely transparent.
Considering Cargill is one of the nation’s largest suppliers of fresh turkeys, this is extremely revolutionary. In fact, the turkeys can be purchased from lots of major retailers including Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, and Amazon. It’s pretty amazing how accessible this is to each and every one of us. It’s a way for consumers to feel more connected to the American farmer and allows the food consumers to have transparency in the food they are serving themselves and their families. From the farmer’s perspective, it gives them an outlet to show how hard they work and the effort/care that goes into getting your tasty Thanksgiving meal on the table. Plus, on the technology side of things, it absolutely represents the power of complete digitalization of the supply chain.
Cargill created a pilot program for this last year in 2017. It was the first time a blockchain solution was used by a major turkey brand and now, people believe it might become the standard across the industry -- for more than just turkeys. Think of it as farm to fork transparency.
Not interested in learning more about where your food is coming from? No problem! You don’t HAVE to look up the origin. If you’re queasy or frankly, it’s just not your thing, then no one is forcing you to use the open source blockchain platform. But you have to admit… it’s pretty cool that we can see and track all of these things, huh? If/when this becomes the industry standard, we’ll be able to eliminate a whole lot questions about what we’re putting on our dinner tables.
I don’t know about you, but this year, I’ll be giving a little thanks to technology for our connected and well protected world. What are you thankful for?