DENMARK – Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) are developing blockchain solutions to help food manufacturers fight food fraud across the entire food value chain.

The project is being developed by the university’s Food Institute in collaboration with Compute and Skylab departments, targeting both small and medium-sized food companies.

The ‘Bottom-up Blockchain’ initiative aims to offer local companies a secure, trustworthy and transparent platform in the production, safety and distribution of foods.

The pilot which has received US$5.34 million (4.8 million Euros) in funding from Industriens Fond, a Danish philanthropic foundation will run for one year, helping especially SME’s quickly adopt blockchain technology.

“Blockchain technology makes it possible to establish a platform for sharing data across the entire farm-to-fork chain in a safe and efficient manner,” said Henning Høgh Jensen, head of DTU’s National Food Institute.

“The finance industry has successfully adopted the new technology, and we believe that it’s time now for the food industry to make use of it.

“The technologies we want to develop in the project could also be used down the line to form the basis for labelling schemes that guarantee the authenticity of food products for the benefit of consumers.”

According to the university, counterfeit producers often aim to capitalise on Denmark’s reputation for having a high standard of food safety by making products with inferior raw materials that are labelled as ‘made in Denmark’.

By using blockchain technology, the project will allow a selected group of members to exchange information that cannot be copied or manipulated by others without it being detected.

The project sees DTU researchers join forces with the Danish innovation centre in Silicon Valley and The Danish Industry Foundation.

“As part of the foundation’s work on new technologies, we look at things like blockchain technology and aim at creating more Danish experiences with the technology,” said Thomas Hofman-Bang, managing director of The Danish Industry Foundation.

“If using blockchain technologies increases food’s traceability and quality assurance, we could kill two birds with one stone: better documentation of a Danish position of strength and good experiences with a new technology.”

The need for traceability in the food and agric supply chains has seen major players like supermarket retailer giant Carrefour and Nestle implement blockchain.

Cargill said it is investing its own digital engineering technology to accelerate development of blockchain to address challenges in the global food chain.