With the help of new technology developed by Chinese company ZhongAn Technology, consumers will be able to more easily obtain information about the chicken they buy at restaurants or supermarkets.
As people become more interested in how and where their food is produced, providing them with this information in a reliable, accurate and timely manner becomes ever more important, especially if the consumer is willing to pay for the service.
For more consumers about to purchase chicken, for example, confidence that they are choosing a safe and truly organic or free-range bird is crucial to the decision-making process. This is one element of the growing “farm-to-table” movement, and the answer may lie in the internet of things (IoT).
ZhongAn Technology has already fitted more than 100,000 chickens with tracking devices, according to National Public Radio (NPR). These devices, fitted around each bird’s leg after hatching, are fitted with sensors that wirelessly upload information to the firm’s blockchain-based network on what the bird is eating, as well as where and how much it is moving around.
“When you shop and see raw chicken from us, you can simply check your smartphone app to know its birthplace, what it ate, and how many steps it walked during its life,” Chen Wei, ZhongAn Technology’s CEO told South China Morning Post (SCMP) last year.
Focusing on research and application of financial technology such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data, ZhongAn Technology is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance, one of China’s largest insurance firms.
In 2017, ZhongAn Technology announced that it was working with several partners to promote its financial blockchain technologies to farming to alleviate poverty, and tap into China’s rural market worth CNY1 trillion (US$149 billion).
One of the partners explained that the goal of the collaboration was to provide everyone in China with safe and reliable chicken.
“Gogo Chicken” received initial expressions of interest from more than 200 farms, and it was hoped that 2,500 farms across the country would be involved by 2020.
The project was launched in June 2018 in Cha’an in Anhui province, reported the SCMP. ZhongAn explained how the new technology helped identify chickens reared under free-range or organic methods for six months from those grown under standard commercial conditions for 45 days.
From 100,000 “Gogo Chickens” fitted with the ankle bracelets, the plan is to increase this figure to more than 23 million birds within three years.
For the poultry industry, blockchain offers many potential benefits. Because it is more resilient to failures and tampering, blockchain allows the sharing of more data in a more transparent way than older technologies, according to Kevin Otto of GS1 US, speaking at the recent International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.