Now, that it’s Thanksgiving time, everyone in the United States is prioritizing their favorite meal at this day of the year: delicious turkey. Cargill, one of the world’s largest companies in the agribusiness sector, announced in a press release that they are going farm-to-table, tracking the turkeys you can buy on the blockchain.
Knowing your farmers
You get a 10-digit code, which you can use to search for your store-bought Honeysuckle White branded turkey to search which farmer had raised your Thanksgiving meal. According to Cargill that owns the Honeysuckle White brand, their blockchain-based solutions provides transparency, which is an urging need for their customers.
“We know consumers are looking beyond farm-to-table marketing promises to understand better where their food comes from and how it produced. That’s why the Honeysuckle White® brand is the first and only major turkey brand to pilot a blockchain-based solution for traceable turkey,” the company stated.
From a marketing standpoint, this project was a success, especially for this Thanksgiving season, in which Cargill expanded the blockchain tractability to 200,000 turkeys grown at 70 of the 700 farmers they are contracted with.
Is blockchain just a buzzword in this case?
It’s always a nice thing to see a company – primarily a large, multinational one – to implement the blockchain to provide transparency and traceability for their customers. However, the question stands: is it enough to see who the farmer who raised our Thanksgiving turkey, or do we need more information was? I’d choose the latter.
Let’s see why. Most of the food tracking – or “farm-to-table” solutions – that use the blockchain are implementing this technology to identify and prevent foodborne diseases quickly and efficiently while providing the consumers valuable information on the products they purchase. This information can include the time their food was standing on the supermarket’s shelves, how many times the animal was given a vaccine, or if the product is truly organic.
Unfortunately, Cargill’s solution does not give us any info on any of these questions. Therefore, it neither provides the consumers the transparency we need nor it is effective against preventing foodborne diseases. It seems that the company has introduced the blockchain solely for marketing purposes.
“By tracking, you can see the farm the turkey came from. However, you can’t see other relevant info such as the date,” a company representative told CryptoPotato. Moreover, when we asked that the turkeys showed on Cargill’s farm-to-table solution where really on the blockchain, the representative didn’t know the answer for that. Could this mean that company using blockchain only as a buzzword in this case?
Furthermore, according to Newfoodeconomy, the farmers displayed in your “blockchain search” are on a contract with Cargill. Therefore, they do not own the animals that you are eating for Thanksgiving, but Cargill.
“The company drops off the birds as poults and picks them up when it’s time for slaughter at a Cargill packing plant. Cargill also owns and ships the feed. Farmers do grow on land they rent or own, and they own their barns. But they’re completely dependent on Cargill to earn a living, an arrangement that leaves little room for autonomy,” Newfoodeconomy stated.