Mastercard Teams Up With Envisible to bring Traceability to Food Supply Chain in Topco Stores


Mastercard and Envisible, a food supply chain traceability provider, are partnering to power Envisible’s Wholechain supply chain traceability system using the blockchain-fueled Mastercard Provenance Solution.

Seafood supply chains, in particular, are a nightmare to trace due to the fact that the majority of American seafood is imported from small suppliers that have no systems in place for traceability in the supply chain.

NOAA Fisheries estimates the USA imports more than 80 percent of its seafood – but a significant portion of imported seafood is caught by American fishermen, exported overseas for processing, and then reimported to the United States, further complicating the supply chain. In 2017, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.9 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.4 billion. And the U.S. is the world’s second-largest consumer of seafood in the world, eating 5.2 billion pounds in 2017 which works out to 16.0 pounds per person, an increase of 1.1 pounds from 2016.

Using Blockchain for seafood supply chains can also help fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which not only deprives legal fishermen and coastal communities of up to $23 billion in seafood and seafood products annually, illegal fisheries threaten the long-term sustainability of global seafood supplies.

The Mastercard and Envisible solution will first be used by Topco, a leading United States food cooperative, to help its member-owners’ supermarkets trace and highlight the origin of seafood. Topco is working with its member grocery chains, starting with Food City, to pilot the use of the technology to provide better line of sight into ethical sourcing and environmental compliance of the seafood selection sold at their stores. The first of several species to be tracked will be salmon, cod and shrimp.

According to a press release:

“Given consumers’ expectations for reliable information about the food that they eat, we’re excited to partner with Food City and Envisible on this trace and provenance solution pilot, and the promise of Envisible’s Wholechain solution,” said Scott Caro, senior vice president of Fresh, Topco.

“Using Envisible Wholechain, powered by Mastercard, our grocers will be able to stock shelves with confidence and also be able to pinpoint issues in the food chain during any unfortunate events such as recalls,” added Dan Glei, executive vice president, Merchandising and Marketing, Food City.

Topco will use Wholechain to gain visibility into the ethical sourcing and environmental compliance of its seafood offerings through the Mastercard Blockchain, supply chain dashboards and other tools from Envisible.

Interestingly, Wholechain’s mobile app with its QR-code system will allow shoppers to simply scan an item to see how it got from sea to store.

With over 100 blockchain patents filed, Mastercard is number three globally among top blockchain innovators. The company has built a permissioned blockchain network that is integrated with its global network and provides a secure tamper-proof ledger, high transaction throughput, enhanced security, transaction privacy, and support for multiple use cases with one deployment.

Built on its proprietary blockchain technology, the Mastercard Provenance Solution is industry-agnostic and helps brands provide visibility into product journeys and a clear record of traceability designed to contribute to consumer confidence, trust and awareness. The Mastercard Provenance Solution also provides governance capabilities to complex supply chain networks, leveraging Mastercard’s proven track record of establishing trust and rules in highly-regulated markets.

“The identity of things is becoming even more important as consumers raise demands for transparency,” said Deborah Barta, senior vice president, Innovation and Startup Engagement, Mastercard. “Our provenance solution leverages Mastercard’s established network capabilities, globally-scaled technology, and services, such as payments and counterfeit programs. This allows us to deliver trust, financial inclusion and back-end efficiencies to the marketplace.”

“The sheer volume of global trade makes it difficult to track the journey and authenticity of food,” said Mark Kaplan, partner, Envisible. “We’re excited that Mastercard shares our vision and is driving consumer trust by bringing its significant expertise in using technology at scale with commercial-grade processing speeds, data flexibility and privacy, and security standards to an area that has previously been considerably opaque.”

Competitors in the market include Bumble Bee FoodsIBM Food Trust and OpenSC, who are also using blockchain to create transparency in retail supply chains.