WWF's OpenSC platform aims for better food chain transparency

21 January 2019 Consultancy.com.au

Ever wanted to run a background check on a fish? With the World Wildlife Fund (WFF)’s new tech, consumers can do just that.

OpenSC, a new blockchain-powered platform allows consumers to scan an OpenSC-enabled food product’s QR code to automatically be provided with details regarding where a particular product came from, when and how it was produced, and how it journeyed along the supply chain. The hope is that OpenSC will decrease or eliminate illegal, unethical, or environmentally damaging practices in food production, and help businesses remove products made in such ways from their supply chains. 

“Through OpenSC, we will have a whole new level of transparency about whether the food we eat is contributing to the environmental degradation of habitats and species, as well as social injustice and human rights issues such as slavery. OpenSC will revolutionise how we all buy food and other products as well, enabling more informed decision-making by consumers, businesses, governments, and industry bodies,” Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF-Australia, said in a statement. 

Using OpenSC, companies will digitally tag food products at their points of origin, such as where and when fish are caught. This tag leverages blockchain technology to record the product as it moves through the supply chain. OpenSC can also track and record information such as a food product’s temperature throughout storage and transport.

How OpenSC works

Austral Fisheries, one of Australia’s largest commercial fishing companies, with interests in both deep-sea fishing and sea prawning, has committed to a full implementation of OpenSC across its entire toothfish – a species of cod icefish caught in Antarctic waters – fleet by the end of 2019. Austral Fisheries is part of the Maruha Nichiro Group, the largest seafood company in the world. 

The platform was created by WWF in conjunction with BCG Digital Ventures (BCGDV), the global venturing and digital incubation arm of Boston Consulting Group. This isn’t the first time the two powerhouse organisations have teamed up. In 2015, WWF and BCG worked on a research project which found the ocean produces $2.5 trillion in annual value. 

“We have developed technology that can reliably pinpoint the exact location where each fish was caught and then use machine learning to demonstrate that all of Austral Fisheries’ toothfish was caught in a legal Marine Stewardship Council-certified sustainable fishery,” Paul Hunyor, regional head of BCG Digital Ventures in Asia and co-chair of the World Economic Forum Council on the Future of Consumption, said. The Marine Stewardship Council is the world’s leading sustainable fishery certification program. 

OpenSC’s launch will be celebrated with a meal prepared by celebrated Australian chef Matt Moran. He will cook using Patagonian toothfish tracked by OpenSC.

The platform enters the market at an opportune time. The availability of smart tech in supermarkets, such as that provided by OpenSC, is highly anticipated, especially among millennials. More than two-thirds of consumers aged 24-35 claimed they would be more likely to frequent stores using smart technology to enhance the shopping experience, according to an August study by Hitachi Consulting.

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Sweet news for Australia's $3 billion chocolate market

09 January 2019 Consultancy.com.au

The Australian chocolate market is expected to reach $4.3 billion by 2023, according to a new TechSci Research report. The market hit $2.9 billion last year, the report states.

“Over the coming years, the chocolate market in Australia is anticipated to grow at a healthy rate, backed by a rising health-conscious population, growing demand for organic chocolates, rapid expansion of the e-commerce industry, and the launch of innovative products by manufacturers,” said Karan Chechi, research director at TechSci Research, a research and consultancy company.

Rising premiumisation – the pursuit of mass market appeal with luxury-tinged products – has seen a surge in the number of exclusive chocolate stores in the country. Additionally, there has been an increase of healthy, often organic, products geared toward younger generations. Both are factors that account for much of the chocolate market’s forecasted growth. Convenience, too, plays a role – the ease with which a box of chocolates can be gifted makes the confection more desirable among Australians.

Sweet news for Australia's $3 billion chocolate market

Chocolate manufacturers are also focusing more attention on bringing products to market in a larger variety of flavours, such as Mondelez’s Cadbury Dairy Milk with Oreo in mint and strawberry. Increase in consumer choice provides “lucrative opportunities to companies operating in the Australian chocolate market during the forecast period,” Chechi said.

Because of their population sizes and the impact of cities such as Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong, the states of Victoria and New South Wales have the most effect on the chocolate industry.

To calculate the Australian chocolate market size, TechSci Research used a bottom-up approach, recording and subsequently forecasting manufacturers’ sales data. In its entirety, the report provides cutting-edge market intelligence to guide and improve investments.

According to a study by KPMG, the Swiss are the largest chocolate consumers globally, with an average of 12kg per person per year, which equates to an average of 1kg of chocolate per month. Swiss-nationals are followed by the Brits (UK & Ireland), Austrians, and Belgians.