News

19th December 2018
Top Technology or Total Turkey?

Top Technology or Total Turkey?

Have you ever sat down for Christmas dinner and wondered: How did my turkey get here? Well, blockchain is now helping to shine some light on the question. While we prefer a dollop of bread sauce with our turkey roast, blockchain does seem to have something pretty tasty to offer.

American food giant Cargill has launched a new blockchain-powered program to trace thousands of turkeys from farm to table. The Honeysuckle White Traceability Program, named after the company’s famous large hens, aims to teach consumers all about their Christmas bird – from the farms where each turkey was raised to the individual farmers responsible.

Turkey has always been a popular bird for serving at a festive family feast. According to the National Turkey Federation, Americans will gobble up 22 million turkeys this Christmas – that is on top of a mind-boggling 45 million turkeys at Thanksgiving! It all adds up to an estimated 2.72 billion kilos of turkey meat – quite a hefty haul.

We are quite partial to a turkey dinner this side of the pond too with the UK consuming around 10 million turkeys each Christmas and around 76% British households picking it as their bird of choice. With food production happening on this scale, it is no wonder consumers are keen to know how their seasonal centrepiece is prepared.

Cargill is one of the world’s largest suppliers of Honeysuckle White turkeys, with over 600,000 large hens sold every year. Around a third of these turkeys are part of the new program, made possible by blockchain technology. This marriage of turkey and technology could help to revolutionise how consumers learn about their meals and the supply chains that make it all possible.

“Each Honeysuckle White turkey will have an identification code, which can be entered into a website that will guide the consumer to the specific farm that raised that exact turkey,” says Debra Bauler, the company’s chief information officer for animal protein and salt. “From a marketing perspective, it’s a way for consumers to feel connected to the American farmer – to those who are responsible for the food they are serving their families. And from a technology perspective, it represents the complete digitalization of the supply chain.”

Glenn Robertson, a Missouri farmer who has raised Honeysuckle White turkeys for 45 years, is a keen participant in the program: “Years ago, most people had a connection to the farm. They knew what it took to raise a turkey. People today in the bigger cities, they don’t get the opportunity to come out to the farm. I think it’s a wonderful program, and I’m sure the consumer is going to enjoy it, too. To know what they’re feeding their family is wholesome, good turkey.”

What is blockchain and is it secure?

Blockchain shot to tech fame a few years ago as the technology underpinning Bitcoin. It has since been developed for all manner of uses, such as Cargill’s traceability program. Blockchain allows digital information to be hosted on millions of computers at the same time, as a shared and continually updated database.

It is accessible to anyone with an internet connection and some claim it is impossible to hack. Although the Switch2IT team has their doubts and agrees with MIT Technology Review that secure is not always the easiest term to pin down. When it comes to IT security, we are not prepared to go cold turkey.

No bird brain antics, Switch2IT

It is time to talk turkey. Whether you are going it alone in business or have hundreds of machines at your disposal, Switch2IT is armed with technical support specialists who will supply the perfect IT managed service contract to suit your needs.

We are all about embracing new technologies such as blockchain and cloud computing and putting cyber security first to improve the day-to-day operations of businesses and consumers alike. Why not Switch2IT for excellent technical support on terms tailored to your priorities? Contact us today to start 2019 the right way.

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