Walmart's Blockchain Technology Can Give Consumers Product Traceability

You’ve probably heard about blockchain as it was initially developed for, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. But now the technology in the cryptocurrency context is being developed for the foodservice industry.

Blockchain, as defined by Investopedia is a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order, it allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central record keeping. Each node (a computer connected to the network) gets a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically.

Most recently, in the food service space, blockchain can be seen used by Walmart and Sam’s Club. The grocery giant has been working closely with IBM to create a digitized handheld system that will allow farmers to give consumers full traceability with a produce product.

The blockchain technology is currently open to those in Walmart’s leafy green food supply chain, in an attempt to ease concern with recent outbreaks in lettuce.

The system will be used to report to stakeholders where a particular head of lettuce came from, during what harvest, and on what particular farm. Allowing government investigators to have a clearer investigation if a consumer gets sick. As opposed to tracking down the tainted lettuce for days, they can find the source within seconds, ideally meaning less wasted produce, less sick people and boosting confidence in the food system.

Will blockchain technology transform the food industry? Learn more in the video above and read more at “Forbes”!

This Food Supply Blockchain Between IBM, Nestlé and Walmart Aims To Improve Food Safety

This Food Supply Blockchain Between IBM, Nestlé and Walmart Aims To Improve Food Safety

Global food safety is a major concern in the world.

Retailers and food companies, like Nestlé and Walmart, have announced a blockchain collaboration with International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), one of the largest information technology companies in the world, to help address concerns and help “strengthen consumer confidence” in the foods purchased.

IBM is tasked with identifying the “most urgent areas” across the global supply chain that would benefit from the blockchain, as reported by “Forbes.” “Many of the critical issues impacting food safety such as contamination, food-borne illness, waste and the economic burden of recalls rest though on a lack of access to information and traceability.”

The blockchain will fill in the gap that currently exists since the supply chain is currently not being overseen and it is hard to trace problems to the actual source.

Data will help identify the source through this proposed blockchain.

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Chef Watson: How IBM Is Revolutionizing Food

Chef Watson: How IBM Is Revolutionizing Food

By Bev Garvin, Foodable Contributor

Ask any successful chef, and they’ll tell you — there’s an artistic element or an intangible asset (kind of like a sixth sense) that helps them bring out the best in food. Intuitive cooks who have “it” possess an innate skill for making ingredients shine. Understanding this is a challenge gourmet cooks and professional chefs face every day.

How ingredients are used varies greatly, too. Even when following the same recipe, it’s unlikely two people will create an identical dish. But no matter what the dish or skill level of the cook, people tend to stick to what they know, which can get some in a rut. We become bored with making the same things the same way or with eating a dish too often. But maybe the real challenge lies not in coming up with new ideas, but letting go of old ones. Maybe we don’t know everything we need to know. What would happen if we didn’t stick to what we know?

Meet IBM’s Chef Watson

Chef Watson isn’t a chef, or even a person at all. Chef Watson is a cloud-based artificial intelligence that analyzes ingredients, recipes and flavor compounds at the molecular level. It uses recipe profiles as models to craft new and innovative recommendations driven by the scientific analysis of the ingredients.

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What Could New IBM x Bon Appetit App 'Chef Watson' Mean for Chefs and Future Menus?

IBM x Bon Appetit team up for Chef Watson app  | Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

IBM x Bon Appetit team up for Chef Watson app | Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

IBM’s Watson is a force to be reckoned with. Just ask Ken Jennings, who was beaten by the supercomputer on Jeopardy in 2011. Watson is no stranger to the food scene — this past year, IBM took the tech to SXSW, fittingly. Watson became a "cognitive cook" that would translate algorithms of large data sets (ingredients) to determine which flavor profiles would pair well with others. In more basic terms, Watson would shuffle around ordinary recipes to create even better ones that held similar flavor profiles to existing concoctions, but “upgraded” them using data. The new recipes would then be created in the food truck, and voilà!

More recently, it was announced that Watson and Bon Appetit are pairing up for a soon-to-be-released beta version of a new app, called Chef Watson. As you can probably guess, the application will help cooks create new recipes out of existing ingredient combinations. “Think of Watson as an algorithmically inclined sous chef that gently suggest hundreds of flavor combinations that you’d probably never come up with on your own,” Wired reported. 

Now, imagine what this kind of technology could do for chefs. According to IBM Research Scientist Lav Vershney, most people have a difficult time managing large data sets, like ingredients in a recipe, but most chefs can handle at least two or three ingredients. “Pretty much no human can reason four ingredients.” What could Chef Watson mean for chefs all around the world? Read More