Topco piloting blockchain technology

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Topco piloting blockchain technology

Food City operates 131 stores.

Retail cooperative Topco Associates LLC, which offers various private branded product lines to its owner-members, is now offering them a high-tech service to track seafood.

With an increasing number of customers wanting to know where their food comes from, Topco member-owners have a new solution through Mastercard's blockchain innovation. Mastercard's blockchain-based Provenance Solution will work in tandem with Envisible's Wholechain traceability system to increase this transparency. Topco’s member-owner Food City is testing the technology first.

Envisible’s Wholechain traceability system will be powered by Mastercard’s blockchain-based Provenance Solution and used by Topco’s member-owners’ supermarkets to trace and highlight the origin of seafood. Topco is working with its member grocery chains, starting with Food City, to pilot the use of the technology to provide better line of sight into ethical sourcing and environmental compliance of the seafood selection sold at their stores. The first of several species to be tracked will be salmon, cod and shrimp.

“Given consumers’ expectations for reliable information about the food that they eat, we’re excited to partner with Food City and Envisible on this trace and provenance solution pilot, and the promise of Envisible’s Wholechain solution,” said Scott Caro, senior vice president of fresh at Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based Topco.

The Mastercard Provenance Solution is industry-agnostic and will provide visibility into the product journeys, and a clear record of traceability that can ease any customer concerns, or, at the very least, provide them with additional information. 

“The sheer volume of global trade makes it difficult to track the journey and authenticity of food,” said Mark Kaplan, partner at Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Envisible. “We’re excited that Mastercard shares our vision and is driving consumer trust by bringing its significant expertise in using technology at scale with commercial-grade processing speeds, data flexibility and privacy, and security standards to an area that has previously been considerably opaque.”

Topco Associates is a $14 billion, privately held, member-owned company that provides aggregation, innovation and knowledge management solutions for its food industry member-owners and customers, including independent grocery retailers, wholesalers, and foodservice and pharmacy companies.

Food City is owned and operated by Abingdon, Va.-based  K-VA-T, which operates 131 retail outlets throughout southeast Kentucky, southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, Chattanooga and north Georgia, under Food City and Super Dollar Discount Foods banners.