In late July, smart labeling company Avery Dennison (AD) and VeChain demonstrated their ToolChain Enabled Solution during the 14th International Internet of Things Exhibition 2020, held in Shenzhen, China.
Due to the Covid-19, consumers demand healthier, safer and more traceable products. Blockchain and IoT products could very well be the solution, possibly even saving the food industry more than $100 billion. Using AD’s intelligent labels with VeChain’s public blockchain, food product life-cycles could be tracked and traced from end-to-end. The concept of blockchain and IoT labels on food products already exists, with data uploaded to an immutable blockchain whereby consumers can trace the product as it moves through the supply chain. It’s likely the pandemic will only further increase demand for blockchain and IoT labels, due to their features of efficiency, transparency and reliability.
Why does one need an RFID enabled label versus just a barcode, which is far cheaper? After all, with the internet, barcodes can be scanned to add tracking data or retrieve it. Most stores already use RFID tags, but to prevent the theft of high value items, which is the hint of their advantage. RFID labels don’t require someone to remember to scan the label because it works at a little distance. So it’s great for COVID-19 social distancing, to avoid human error, and cut the cost of a person scanning.
AD’s partnership with VeChain comes a month after joining public distributed ledger network Hedera Hashgraph’s governing council, alongside other major organizations like IBM and Google, as well as academic organization UCL. Council members are expected to commit to governing software changes while supporting stability and continued decentralization to the network.
Food traceability is a very popular blockchain solution with numerous big brands adopting the technology from Nestle and Bumble Bee to Carrefour. Certain foods have caught on more than others. Walmart mandates blockchain for leafy greens because they are prone to recall as a result of numerous outbreaks of E.coli. And fish and coffee are popular because blockchain enables proof of origin and sustainability credentials, which justifies premium pricing.
However, the food industry is not the only supply chain AD has targeted, which has designed and manufactured labeling and functioning materials for most major industries. AD has also dipped into the world of beauty and fashion.
In November 2019, it announced its partnership with major fashion brand Ralph Lauren, which plans to use intelligent labels to create digital IDs for their entire product line, which would map the product’s entire life-cycle. This could potentially revolutionize the entire fashion industry, which is under particular heat due to their notoriously harmful supply chain footprint. Similarly, AD has suggested the beauty industry would benefit from digital transformation due to growing consumer demand for product traceability.