Improving Transparency in Food Supply Chains Through the Blockchain Technology

Luigi Mattiazzi

Student thesis: Master thesis


During the last years, an increasing amount of foodborne diseases and food scandals has highlighted the level of complexity that food supply chains have reached. In particular, it is becoming more and more complex for companies to quickly understand the origins of contaminated ingredients, while it is relatively easy for firms to hide fraudulent behaviours. As a consequence, it is possible to notice how the topic of transparency, in this environment, is becoming more and more discussed and considered as a solution in order to offer more comprehensive and reliable information about the products that we daily consume.
Nonetheless, increasing transparency is not an immediate action, and requires a certain commitment from the companies involved in the supply chain. From this perspective, the digitalisation of different operations, together with the introduction of different innovations, may help in improving how data are managed and collected. But there are still some obstacles. Obstacles that can be addressed with a recent technology: the blockchain. In particular, this digital, immutable ledger seems to provide an effective solution to many of the problems faced when considering the problem of transparency.
The aim of the thesis, is then the one to analyse the intersection of two main topics: transparency in food supply chains and the blockchain technology. Through the presentation of different phenomena that brought supply chains to be so complex, and a discussion related to the digitalisation of these same supply chains, it will be possible to create the grounds for assessing the capabilities of the blockchain in this field.
With the support of two companies that contributed to providing relevant information, namely IMPLEMENT and BLOC, the author will then argue how an implementation of the blockchain could effectively represent a solution for improving the level of transparency in food supply chains, creating a stronger trust between consumers and companies, but also between the different supply chain players.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages92