Carrefour The Latest Retailer To Embrace The Blockchain Craze: Analysis

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Carrefour The Latest Retailer To Embrace The Blockchain Craze: Analysis

Earlier this week, Carrefour unveiled what it has described as 'Europe's first food blockchain' - a system that will heighten the transparency associated with its products' provenance, as well as help to optimise the retailer's supply chain.

Commenting on the launch, Laurent Vallée, Carrefour's general secretary and head of quality and food safety, said that the move was a "first in Europe", that will "provide consumers with guaranteed complete transparency as far as the traceability of our products is concerned."

In embracing efforts to improve the quality of the information it provides about its products, Carrefour should rightly be lauded.

In its home market as abroad, customers want more and more information about what they buy, and Blockchain, which is rapidly gaining prominence across Europe, offers such a platform

Market Advantage?

It is unclear though, what would be the actual advantage to Carrefour of using Blockchain specifically.


After all, main advantage of Blockchain is to ensure that information stored in a database cannot be falsified afterward.

Blockchain's most known applications so far have been associated with cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum. But they are not one and the same.

You can have cryptocurrency without using Blockchain technology, such as IOTA. Or you can have alternative technologies to Blockchain, such as Hashgraph, which seek to address some of the issues that have plagued Blockchain since its inception - that it is wasteful in terms of energy and difficult to scale.

Carrefour 2022

As a retailer, Carrefour probably does not need to use Blockchain to achieve its goal of providing more information to the consumer.


But on the back of chief executive Alexandre Bompard's 'Carrefour 2022' pronouncement in January, a large part of which will focus on improving traceability and quality standards, its embrace of the technology is very much in keeping with this goal.

"By 2018, the blockchain system should be present in all Carrefour subsidiaries," Bompard said in his speech. "They should lead by example in terms of traceability."

But the move comes after the company posted a €500 million net loss in 2017 and is part of Carrefour’s digital plan for 2022. Its shares have been down for the better part of a year.

It would also not be the first to hitch a ride on the Blockchain juggernaut.


In the last few months, some companies even renamed themselves, placing 'Blockchain' in the name of the company, in a bid to attract investors.

In a move recalling companies adding '.com' to their name in the 90s, Long Island Iced Tea a US based company selling bottled iced tea and lemonade changed its name to 'Long Blockchain Corporation'. After it did so, its shares rose 289%. This eventually came down, but the company still enjoyed the free publicity and possibly new investors.

While Carrefour did not experience such a share price hike, it did see its initiative published in a broad range of French publications, from national newspapers such as Le Figaro to more technology-focused websites.

Mission accomplished?

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Matthieu Chassain, additional reporting by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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