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Uncle Ben’s dials in augmented reality to reveal rice supply chain

Shoppers in France can use AR app to find out information on where their rice has come from

Rice brand Uncle Ben’s has enlisted the help of augmented reality (AR) technology to help improve the traceability of its supply chain.

The Mars Fooid-owned brand has teamed up with AR app Blippar to allow shoppers in France to scan rice packets and find out more about where the grains have come from, Blippar revealed in a recent blog post.

AR is a technology which enables computing devices to overlay digital information on real world objects. It was the technology behind the hit 2016 game Pokemon Go, which allowed users to ‘catch’ digital creatures in real locations.

When Blippar users scan a packet of Uncle Bens rice into the app, the technology pulls supply chain data from blockchain firm Transparency-One and certification firm SGS.

Shoppers are then also shown an infographic explaining Mars’ approach to sustainable rice sourcing, alongside recipe ideas.

Mars said it chose to use AR with rice first because it is one of the world’s most consumed foodstuffs.

The launch – initially only available to shoppers in France – is the latest example of how companies are harnessing the power of new technologies to improve transparency in their supply chains.

A growing number of firms are convinced blockchain technology could prove to be a gamechanger for supply chain management, allowing products to be logged on an independent, tamper-proof database at every step of production process, and providing enhanced evidence that producers have complied with environmental regulations and best practices.

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