Vincent Doumeizel of Lloyd’s Register Foundation talks Food Industry 4.0 and describes the potential impact that blockchain could have on the sector
Where do your meals come from? Over the past few decades, the world’s food industry has gone through a radical evolution, becoming highly industrialised and globally connected. It’s not unusual for a European’s dinner plate to include Ecuadorian asparagus, Thai prawns and Kenyan rice. In many ways, this is an impressive feat. However, as Vincent Doumeizel, Director of the Food Programme at Lloyd’s Register Foundation points out, today’s “savvy consumers want to know exactly where their food comes from”.
Whether it is foodstuffs infected with dangerous microbes, meals which don’t contain the ingredients they purport to, or the desire to know that organic or fair trade food are what they say they are, consumers are increasingly seeking to know where their food originates. Doumeizel, who has 15 years industry experience and will be talking at Blockchain Tech World this March, reckons a new generation of tech will do a lot to help.
From farm to table with Food Industry 4.0
At Lloyd’s Register, Doumeizel helps identify and fund innovative projects which aim to drive safety and sustainability throughout the global supply chain. One area he focuses on is the Industrial IoT. “A US brewer, for example, has integrated smart manufacturing onto its factory floor in order to predict when its equipment will need maintenance.” This kind of investment in IoT sensors “has reduced downtime by 50 percent and increased production without raising costs.”
Other areas of interest include tracking customer purchases more precisely to reduce waste or to detect faulty machinery. “Industry 4.0 should eventually help manufacturers meet the demands of the coming decades and become predictive instead of reactive, enabling a preventative, risk-based approach to food safety and food fraud.”
And one of the most exciting technologies entering the food industry is blockchain. Doumeizel explains that “we have recently witnessed a steady increase in the number of announcements on the use of blockchain to enhance food traceability and its ability to track a product’s journey.” He notes that major food retailers, manufacturers, traders and even NGOs have all released reports on the potential of blockchain when it comes to making food safer, more traceable and fairer.