The Bumble Bee Seafood Company
Published 3 years ago.
About a 4 minute read.
/ This article is sponsored by
The Bumble Bee Seafood Company.
Bumble Bee’s adoption of blockchain is not just about dispelling doubt about its fishing practices — it provides a window into quality and supply chain management, which could unlock major savings for the company.
Bumble Bee Seafoods has been using
blockchain technology to solve the mystery of where your fish comes from, one
tuna steak at a time. The seafood manufacturer can now track each package of
Natural Blue® by Anova® yellowfin tuna
back to the waters in which it was caught, providing full transparency to
consumers of its journey to their plate.
This move not only provides accountability to the consumer, it also marks a key
shift in Bumble Bee’s potential use of large-scale data in its operations.
in March of 2019, Bumble Bee's traceability efforts through blockchain have
continued to evolve and receive positive reviews from both retailers and
consumers alike. Bumblebee CIO Tony Costa considers this just the beginning:
“We're just scratching the surface of the capabilities around all the data that
It's no secret that many firms, both in and out of the food industry, are
implementing blockchain for supply chain
and building data stockpiles. In Bumble Bee’s case, the aim was to gain greater
consumer confidence. The company had previous success with its Trace My
Catch initiative, launched in 2015 —
which showed consumers where their fish was caught; but with blockchain Bumble
Bee sought to enhance that process, this time by showing every stop in between.
Commercial fishing is a difficult industry to
from bait to plate, but Costa and his team have worked with experts at
SAP to make it happen.
While Bumble Bee focused on the food, SAP’s Digital Business Services team
concentrated on the technical implementation — integrating blockchain with easy
input processes for every player along the journey, a key ingredient to the
success of the operation.
Blockchain itself can be difficult to
but its underlying structure — which ensures constant checks across the network
— is what drew Bumble Bee to the technology. A blockchain network has checks and
balances built in; if any element is tampered with, the database breaks
intentionally. It’s a bit like Jenga, but in reverse — each person adds to
the building; and if someone skips a turn or adds where they’re not allowed, the
system sounds the alarm.
This integration makes it perfect for supply chain
Bumble Bee sources tuna from around the world, including from a handline fishery
in Indonesia which achieved Fair Trade
— a standard to which Bumble Bee already adheres. With blockchain, the fishers
are involved in the process directly, creating a more equitable platform to
provide data and feedback. Not only are the fishers more involved and engaged;
each stop along the cold chain gets logged, including the warehouse and the
store that sells the tuna itself.
The in-store experience for the shopper is the big moment that Bumble Bee sought
to improve. Today, consumers can scan a QR code on the Natural Blue by Anova
package in the grocery store aisle, and find previously unattainable details —
information such as where the fish was caught, the boat size and the fishing
method used show up on their smartphone. Furthermore, they can learn whether
that fishing method results in bycatch (unintended sea life caught) or if the
waters are overfished for
This is fundamental data that informs Bumble Bee’s customers that they’re making
the right choice in buying Anova’s Natural Blue tuna steaks.
Bumble Bee’s adoption of blockchain is not just an example of a large seafood
company wanting to dispel doubt about its fishing practices — the move provides
a window into quality and supply chain management, which in turn could unlock
major savings for the company. While these upsides are still finding their way
to its bottom line, Bumble Bee's use of blockchain is adding much-needed
pressure to the food industry — and seafood, in particular — to radically
increase transparency in food
Finally, this is not a story about doing environmental good at a financial cost;
blockchain and the data it produces are now part of a living feedback loop. Tuna
steaks are no longer part of a one-way story at Bumble Bee — now, each step in
the process can yield new insights for the company's analysts. In addition to
having a head start against many of its competitors, Bumble Bee now has a data
standard across the various processors thoughout its supply chain. The company
is now well-positioned to design even more integrative solutions in its business
using this large, consolidated data stream.
As Oliver Betz, Global Head and SVP of SAP Innovative Solutions, asserts:
“This solution is an example of how blockchains can be used to revolutionize the
future of food.”
Published Jan 19, 2021 7am EST / 4am PST / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.