Danone Introduces Blockchain Traceability to Baby Formula

The dairy giant is using technology to increase transparency between parents and their child's baby formula.

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Need to Know

  • Danone is launching a blockchain-powered tracking technology for its baby formula brands Aptamil, Nutrilon, Karicare, and Laboratoire Gallia.
  • ‘Track & Connect’ will allow consumers to track the creation and location of baby formula by scanning an outer QR code, and confirm authenticity with an inner QR code.
  • Danone’s Specialized Nutrition (including its baby formula brands) generated $7.73 billion in sales in 2018.
  • 69% of consumers want to know more detailed information about ingredients and how the food was made, according to a 2018 study.
  • Having children in the home increases shopper’s desire for transparency in food products and ingredients.

Analysis

Danone is using blockchain technology, serialization, and aggregation technology to launch a ‘Track & Connect’ service for its baby formula products. The service will let parents and caregivers trace the location and timeframe the baby formula was produced in Danone’s factories and reduce overall tampering and fraud.

Using QR codes on the outside of the package as well as underneath the tamper-proof seal will confirm authenticity of the formula, which will provide peace of mind for parents everywhere.

David Boulanger, senior VP of operations at Danone Specialized Nutrition, said, “Thanks to this innovation in packaging and data management, we’ll be able to offer one of the most comprehensive traceability services in the baby formula industry and connect more closely to our consumers and retailers to offer them after-sales services they value.”

A 2018 Transparency Imperative study emphasized the value of traceability for food products. The report states that more than two thirds of consumers (69%) say it’s extremely important that brands provide detailed information about how their food is made and what’s in it. It also shows that 75% of consumers are more likely to switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information, beyond what’s provided on the physical label. Unsurprisingly, shoppers with children in their households increased the desire for transparency on food labels, as well as more detailed information about ingredients, nutrition, and health benefits. 

Danone is using this information to its advantage, creating more information for the conscious shopping parent, and following in the footsteps of companies like Folgers, who are also using blockchain to track the sourcing and ethical production of their coffee beans.

Boulanger told FoodNavigator, “[Consumers] want to know how their food is made and where it comes from. Based on what we hear from our consumers and retail partners, shoppers value information on where, when and how we make our baby formula products. Since baby formulas are a highly specialized food – and for some babies, the only type of food they can consume, if breastfeeding isn’t an option – we’re keen to provide parents with more information on the journey our baby formulas take before ending up on retailer’s shelves.”

Danone plans to roll out Track & Connect in China, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand in 2020.

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