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Majid Al Futtaim, the Middle East, Africa and Asia’s leading shopping center, culture, retail and leisure leader, owner and operator of the Carrefour franchise in these regions, and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Majid Al Futtaim has joined IBM Food Trust, a global food industry blockchain-enabled ecosystem running on IBM Cloud.

Carrefour will become the first distributor in the region to give its customers new levels of knowledge and accountability about the provenance of their food through end-to-end product visibility in its supply chain, encouraging better quality, efficiency and protection for its customers.

Until expanding into more product lines, the project will begin with two initial product categories, Carrefour’s own fresh chicken brand and microgreens harvested from select in-store hydroponic farms. A smarter and more productive food environment would help all participants in this project across the supply chain. For producers, manufacturers, shippers, retailers, regulators and customers, the digitisation of transactions and data offers a more productive way of operating through the supply chain.

Customers will be able to quickly access actionable food supply chain data, from farm to store shelf, by simply using their smartphone to scan a QR code on participating items such as Carrefour’s fresh chicken. Once submitted to the blockchain, the history of the product, including manufacturing process, halal and hygiene certifications, date of birth, nutrition details and temperature data, will be readily accessible.

Research conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) demonstrates the increasing demand for food traceability, showing that 73 percent of those responding to the survey said that traceability of goods is important to them. Of those who said it was very important, 71% of respondents said they were prepared to pay a premium for the brands that supply it.

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Trust in the food supply is becoming increasingly important worldwide, a trend accelerated by changing consumer demands and the subsequent health and wellbeing concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hani Weiss, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Retail. “It is therefore imperative for us to invest in ensuring quality throughout the value chain while simultaneously working to build robust customer trust and loyalty. In meeting the new market expectations, we are now offering enhanced food traceability for our valued Carrefour customers and improved operational efficiency for our business.”

Majid Al Futtaim is engaging with its supplier partners to enable broader participation in this initiative, giving Carrefour customers access to traceability details across diverse products throughout the UAE, before introducing it to other Carrefour markets operated by the company in the Middle EastAfrica and Asia.

“Thanks to the availability of advanced cloud-based, blockchain technology and the commitment of Majid Al Futtaim to deliver the highest quality to its customers, we are proud to be using this supply chain solution to provide the very best in quality, safety and trust to our customers in the markets we operate in,” Nalla Karunanithy, Chief Digital Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Retail said.

IBM Food Trust uses decentralised ledgers to record transactions in a verifiable way. Through a collaborative blockchain network, critical information such as product origin, transportation, and ingredients, can be logged effectively and accessed quickly by permissioned participants across the value chain and ultimately customers.

Today’s announcement is the latest tech-forward initiative in Majid Al Futtaim’s digital transformation of its Carrefour operations, following numerous innovative developments including Automated Click & Collect, Mobile Scan & Go and the launch of an online marketplace, utilising the latest in state-of-the-art technology.

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