IBM - believes its blockchain product could benefit the food industry.

IBM - believes its blockchain product could benefit the food industry.

Technology giant IBM has announced it will be working with a consortium that includes food giants Nestle, Tyson Foods and Unilever to bring the benefit of blockchains to the food supply chain.

The idea behind the collaboration is to work out where exactly blockchains - a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography - can benefit the food ecosystem.

IBM has been working on various blockchain projects in the last few months and believes that, given the complexity of the food supply chain from producer to consumer, blockchains would allow for more transparency and traceability.

The company's latest initiative also sees it team up with US seasonings and spice maker McCormick, packaged fruit supplier Dole Food Co. and foodservice supplier Golden State Foods.

Scott Stillwell, senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance for US meat giant Tyson Foods, said: "Producing safe food is critical to our business; it appears blockchain can help provide trust not only about the origin of food but also about how that food moved through the supply chain."

Retailer Walmart is also signed up to the project. Its vice president for food safety, Frank Yiannas, said: "Blockchain technology enables a new era of end-to-end transparency in the global food system - equivalent to shining a light on food ecosystem participants that will further promote responsible actions and behaviours.

"It also allows all participants to share information rapidly and with confidence across a strong trusted network."

IBM's Blockchain Platform will form the basis for much of the work within the project.