Aldi is the first retailer in Ireland to test blockchain technology successfully to validate its corporate buying policy for organic and sustainably produced Irish seafood. Aldi and Verifish are participating in a pilot project with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency. This project is funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Developed by Verifish and supported by BIM, the pilot blockchain project captures all information from catch through to the retail shelves. The goal of the project is to increase visibility in the supply chain bringing assurance to consumers. This will add to Aldi’s strong sustainability credentials.
Following the completion of the first phase of the pilot programme, Aldi has introduced the system to its Irish Organic Salmon and its Wild Irish Hake products. For example, for Aldi’s Wild Irish Hake to be considered sustainably caught, it must come from a FIP-registered Irish vessel, and the processors must also be registered under the programme. Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) provide a platform for seafood suppliers, buyers and fishermen to develop a strategy to improve a specific fishery by considering better policies and management over a given time period. Engagement in a FIP allows producers and processors access markets which demand sustainability and environmental credentials. Following the programme, which runs for 12 months in two phases, Aldi aims to introduce the blockchain traceability system across its entire Irish-sourced white fish ranges by early 2021.
Aldi’s Irish fish suppliers include Morgan’s, Goodfish and Carr & Sons, which were involved in the blockchain pilot programme.
Frank Fleming, CEO of Verifish, said: “Supporting Irish producers and processors, in both the wild capture and aquaculture sectors, creates a healthy vibrant Irish seafood industry. Fishery Improvement Projects enable all parts of the Irish seafood industry to work collaboratively on sustainability goals which protects our natural resources for future generations. We thank Aldi for their commitment to Irish seafood produce and to trialling this new blockchain technology. We also wish to thank BIM for their support in this project and their continuing support of sustainability projects which protects jobs in the catching and processing sectors”.
Jim O’Toole, CEO of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, said: “The importance of traceability across the seafood supply chain has never been higher. BIM contracted Cork based company, Verifish, to demonstrate how blockchain technology can reconnect retailers and their customers to Irish seafood’s origins. Aldi, along with their suppliers have been the first to embrace this technology. This unique approach for seafood verifies all aspects of the supply chain from where the fish was farmed or caught to its health and how it was processed. Ultimately, it gives further assurance to the customer that the Irish seafood industry adhere to high standards and that Ireland’s seafood is safe and sustainably sourced. In time, BIM hope this will become the industry standard which in our view will add value to the domestic seafood sector.”