Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Food supply

Blockchain could boost food security

Blockchain technology is helping to meet sustainability challenges (see G. Chapron Nature 545, 403–405; 2017), for example in renewable energy (M. Andoni et al. Nature 548, 158; 2017) and conservation (Z. Baynham-Herd Nature 548, 523; 2017). Food security could also benefit from the technology's transparency, relatively low transaction costs and instantaneous application.

Blockchain assignment of unique digital identifiers to food products would make them traceable through supply chains, along with their growth conditions, batch numbers and expiry dates. This would help to prevent food waste, allow consumers to work out the ecological footprint of their food, and guide the distribution of surplus food to those who need it.

This shared and immutable register of foods and transactions would prevent fraud and enable source identification of food-borne illness. And as digital technologies are increasingly used to manage farms, blockchain will promote sharing of on-farm data.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Selena Ahmed.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ahmed, S., Broek, N. Blockchain could boost food security. Nature 550, 43 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/550043e

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing