Forward thinkers at DTU High Tech Summit: Henning Høgh Jensen, Head of Division, DTU Food. Danish food products are in high regard for their quality. Therefore, it makes sense for the producers to protect their brands by adapting Blockchain and other digital technologies.
Head of Division at DTU Food, Henning Høgh Jensen
“Increasingly, consumers value authenticity. Raw products originating from a specific region are often in higher demand. A Danish origin is a strong asset, but if you want to be in this type of market, you need to be able to document the origin of your raw products,” says Henning Høgh Jensen. He heads a new project funded by the Danish Industry Foundation, “Bottom-up Blockchain Value Chains in the Food Sector.”
“In Asia, for instance, Danish products are in high regard for their quality and reliability. This allows Danish small and medium-sized enterprises to access these markets without massive investments in marketing. If a project such as ours may contribute to this end even just a bit, it would be a good deed.”
Emphasis on fast return on investment
The Danish food sector has many small and medium-sized enterprises.
“These companies typically operate on a short time horizon. Without a quick return on investment, an innovative solution will never make it past the desk of the CEO of a typical food producing company. Thus, we will start by asking the companies how a digital solution should be designed in order to be of interest,” Henning Høgh Jensen explains.
The main idea is to produce a number of case stories where Blockchain can be demonstrated to add value to Danish food sector businesses. Not just technical solutions, but also business models will be addressed.
“Keeping costs down will be essential as you develop software and devices aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises. Still, we can hardly expect the solutions to be for free. So, the point is to develop solutions that deliver an added value larger than the cost. We keep in mind that companies in the food sector are already burdened with quite extensive demands for documentation. If we can develop something which is not seen as yet another burden, but as something replacing present procedures, hopefully in an easier form, we have come a long way.”
Better than random spot tests
The project points to future applications that reach beyond the companies in the food sector:
“As I see things, this could very well be the beginning of a development towards a much smoother and more efficient approach to quality assurance and public food inspection. Today, the food and health authorities rely heavily on either random spot tests or plain rumors. Imagine a future. where digital tools will allow us to focus on the efforts where the real challenges lie, and thus the largest potential for improvement exists.”
Henning Høgh Jensen looks forward to highlighting the project at DTU High Tech Summit:
“The timing is good since by October we will have the setup in place and be ready to get out there to approach the companies in the food sector.”
Blockchain in the food sector
Project partners are DTU Food, DTU Compute, DTU Skylab, Silicon Valley Innovation Centre Denmark, and consultants WeScale & Co. The Danish Industry Foundation has provided the project with a budget of 3.6 million DKK, and the project duration is one year.
“It’s no use closing your eyes to the changes. We need to constantly keep up and try to influence the process.”
Professor Jan Madsen, DTU Compute