From Bait to Plate, Blockchain Platform Tracks Food’s Journey

January 30, 2019 Updated: January 30, 2019

With a scan of their smartphones, consumers can now track the journey of their fish dinner from the water to their plate to ensure it’s a legal, ethical, and sustainable product.

OpenSC, a global digital platform developed in Australia, allows users to scan QR codes with a smartphone camera to see where the product came from and when and how it was produced, and follow its journey along the supply chain.

Launched by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and investment firm BCG Digital Ventures, it uses blockchain technology that records information such as the movement of the product and details of its storage.

This makes accurate information on supply chains available to consumers, enabling them to seek sustainable, ethical, and fair products from companies, its developers said.

“What the OpenSC platform does is it democratizes that information,” Paul Hunyor, managing director of BCG Digital Ventures, told Reuters Television.

“What is the journey that the food that they’re consuming has been on? Where was it caught? How can they verify the location?”

Blockchain technology makes use of a database of records shared across a network that constantly checks record details to ensure any changes can be seen across the whole network.

OpenSC evolved from a WWF-led project that uses blockchain to track tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean. BCG Digital Ventures was brought in to help build the platform.

The platform is now tracking fish and the developers expect to add other seafood this year. OpenSC is also in commercial discussions with potential partners on commodities such as palm oil and timber, a WWF spokesman said.

The platform was launched Jan. 17 at the Aria restaurant of famous Australian chef Matt Moran in Sydney. Guests were able to track the journey of their lunch—fillets of Patagonian toothfish—from bait to plate.

By James Redmayne