Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com is partnering with Australian beef exporter InterAgri to launch a blockchain-enabled traceability system aimed at providing greater transparency about the provenance of beef sold in China.
InterAgri also plans to sells premium Pure Black Angus Beef sourced from Australian farmers to Chinese consumers via JD.com. The new partnership follows JD opening it first Australian office in Melbourne last month to support Australian exporters selling to China.
When the blockchain system is implemented later this year, it will enable consumers to track each piece of Pure Black Angus Beef back to the farm in Australia where it originated, the company says.
Consumers will be able to access a wide range of information, including details of animals, such as where and how the animal was raised, and how the meat was processed and transported.
Alibaba is also working on a blockchain project to enhance traceability of food products. In March last year the company announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with PwC, Blackmores and Australia Post to explore blockchain technology to curb the sale counterfeit food products online.
Ensuring the provenance of food products is a key concern for Chinese ecommerce businesses where consumers are increasingly focused on product authenticity and safety.
At the end of last year, JD, Walmart, IBM, and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies launched the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance, which is designed to enhance food tracking, traceability and safety in China to achieve greater transparency across the food supply chain.
“We’re increasingly implementing blockchain-enabled traceability solutions to give consumers confidence that they are buying safe, reliable products for their families,” said Chen Zhang, JD.com’s CTO.
“Consumers in China don’t just want quality imported products, they want to know that they can trust how and where their food is sourced, and blockchain helps us deliver this peace of mind.”
Fresh food is now one of the fastest growing categories on JD’s platform and in 2016, China imported $737.3 million of Australian beef according to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).
“The demand for premium Australian beef in China has exploded over the last few years, but we are still just scratching the surface of the addressable market,” said Adrian McCorkell, Director of InterAgri.
“By partnering with JD.com, and tapping into its reputation for quality and ability to bring fresh food to the doorsteps of hundreds of millions of potential consumers, we’re unlocking a huge opportunity for Australian beef exporters to fulfil future generations of consumers in China.”