Blockchain on Custom Product Labels Could Be The Future For Foods and Drinks

Block Chain Beer
Block Chain Beer

Product labels and private labels have many functions today.

To catch your eye, and tell you information about the food or drink product you are buying.

But a recent study from Label Insight says that Almost half (48%) of consumers feel they they do not know enough about a product, despite reading the label.

So how can labeling consumer products for private labels be done better?

The answer is block chain technology. The one technology and software on the internet that does not change, blockchain is essentially set in stone, and also leaves a public record of the transactions that can be see by anyone who wants to look it up.  Blockchain is a digital ledger that can offer transparency beyond the product labels information. Unlike other online websites, a blockchain ledger cannot be changed after the fact, giving it a high trust value with consumers.

"Blockchain is set in stone – which is pretty rare for the internet – it’s also highly secure and fully decentralized," explains Jessi Baker, founder of Provenance, a London block chain technology firm.

Walmart Implements BlockChain For Product Labels

Walmart has just implemented the new blockchain technology in 2018  to start tracking fruits and produce from farm to shelf. In one test program Walmart found that using blockchain technology, fruit labels like mangos can be scanned, tracked, and find the source farm in 2.2 seconds.

Without the technology it would usually take about 6 days, 18 hours, and 26 minutes to learn the source farm. But unfortunately, all this infrastructure is only made for internal-Walmart. A customer shopping at Walmart can not yet see this information as it is all behind the scenes.

But when you combine these new smart labels on current product labels if could offer a new transparency to consumers, therefore empowering them to make better purchasing decisions.

"Consumers are starting to demand much more provenance information, particularly in regards to food safety and animal welfare and the expectation is for this to grow," says Drew Lyall, general manager of supply chain specialists arc-net.


According to Label Insight, a recent study in 2018 shows that 75% of consumers said they are willing to switch brands if another offered them more information on the product labels. In 2016 only 39% of consumers said they would be willing to switch brands if the product labels told more information about the company and products. And a majority of grocery shoppers (69%) said they want retailers to be more transparent on their sustainability progress.

Seafood Labels Are Using Block Chain

US company Bumble Bee Foods, a major producer of seafood labels and food products started using block chain to track yellowfin tuna from the Indonesia ocean to the can. With a quick scan of a QR code on the label shoppers can see where the fish was caught, the weight of the catch, and if that seafood catch was certified sustainable.

Oliver Betz, general manager of SAP Innovative Business Solutions says that “The label supports the consumers need to know and reinforces their faith in the brands they trust”.

For example, counterfeit alcohol products that have a counterfeit product label cost the alcohol industry $3 billion a year because of fraudulent wines and spirits. But smarted packaging could assure customers that what they are drinking is real. This is what a recent Canadian beer manufacturer did, they put the QR code right on the front of the label just like the picture above. A QR code scan of this would take you to their microweb site that contains timestamps of the beer’s journey, along with videos and other content to tell a story around the data, and the company.

If these alcohol product labels implemented a QR code and block chain technology much of these fraudulent products and labels would not be sold, because the customer would scan them and find that it yields no data.

The challenge will be for graphics designers to implement these QR codes into labels and packaging in a way that is not obtrusive and will help customer engagement.

But blockchain labels are useless if consumers don’t take the time to scan the code in the first place.

These products are just the beginning of what private labels and product labels can do in the future. In the future we predict that custom labels will simply get scanned by consumers via a QR code, or something similar, which will allow them to connect with the small-scale producers. This will help consumers connect with brands better, and truly understand what a product is about.