Walmart, JD.com, IBM, and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for e-commerce Technologies have collaborated with each other to create a blockchain technology for food traceability in order to support offline and online consumers in China.

With the new initiative, the companies intend to achieve greater transparency across the food supply chain.

Using blockchain technology, the four companies will be working with food supply chain providers as well as regulators to develop the standards, solutions and partnerships to create a new food safety ecosystem in China.

IBM Industry Platforms senior vice-president Bridget van Kralingen said: “Blockchain holds incredible promise in delivering the transparency that is needed to help promote food safety across the whole supply chain.

“This is a fundamental reason why IBM believes so strongly in the impact this technology will have on business models.

“By expanding our food safety work with Walmart and Tsinghua University in China and adding new collaborators like JD.com, the technology brings traceability and transparency to a broader network of food supply chain participants.”

“Blockchain holds incredible promise in delivering the transparency that is needed to help promote food safety across the whole supply chain.”

As part of the new initiative, IBM will be providing its IBM Blockchain Platform and expertise, while Tsinghua University will serve as a technical advisor sharing its expertise in the key technologies and the China food safety ecosystem.

IBM and Tsinghua will also team up with Walmart and JD to develop, optimise and roll out the technology to suppliers and retailers that join the alliance.

Walmart food safety and health vice-president Frank Yiannas said: “As a global advocate for enhanced food safety, Walmart looks forward to deepening our work with IBM, Tsinghua University, JD, and others throughout the food supply chain.

“Through collaboration, standardisation, and adoption of new and innovative technologies, we can effectively improve traceability and transparency and help ensure the global food system remains safe for all.”

The collaboration between the four companies would ensure brand owners’ data privacy while helping them integrate their online and offline traceability for food safety and quality management channels.