Alibaba Engages NZ Companies


Blackmore’s odourless fish oil and Anchor dairy products will be the catalyst for a new Alibaba (Australia) food trust framework that promises to improve supply chain traceability across the globe.

Blackmores and Fonterra will start shipping their products to Chinese consumers who purchase them on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform, and if successful, the framework could form the basis of a global supply chain model applied across all of Alibaba’s e-commerce markets.

The pilot follows Alibaba’s announcement last year that it is engaging PwC in Australia, New Zealand and China to advise the company on the framework setup to protect product authenticity and provide a safe and trusted marketplace.

Alibaba also signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year partnering with Blackmores, Fonterra and New Zealand Post in the framework; and hopes that it will provide confidence to producers, merchants, logistics providers and consumers.

“Blackmores goes to extraordinary lengths to have visibility over our supply chain and each of our products passes 30 tests and checks before it is released for sale,” chief executive Richard Henfrey says. “So we’re exploring ways to leverage the technology and data that can provide our consumers with assurance that their trust in our products is well-placed. Our commitment to quality doesn’t end in our distribution centre and we need to give consumers confidence in the products they purchase on e-commerce platforms.”

The framework incorporates a range of standards and controls to manage the supply chain process, including blockchain technology and product tagging with unique QR codes. These technologies are designed to authenticate, verify, record and provide ongoing reporting of the transfer of ownership and provision of products and goods.

Food fraud costs the global food industry an estimated US$40bn each year, according to research from the Michigan State University, and PwC has also estimated that 40% of food companies find food fraud difficult to detect with current methods and 39% think their products are easy to counterfeit.

Fonterra president Greater China Christina Zhu says the company delivers global best practice supply chain traceability through its existing technology. “Given the potential of emerging tech, including blockchain, we want to be at the forefront of developing food quality and safety standards across the supply chain. In China and many other markets, we know consumers want to be able to trace the products they purchase online, so we welcome being a part of creating a globally respected framework that protects the reputation of food companies and gives greater value and consumer confidence.”

NZ Post chief executive David Walsh says the platform will increase New Zealand’s already strong reputation of providing clean, green and safe products in China. “NZ Post is delighted our trusted, reliable and visible supply chain and network has been chosen to give confidence to Chinese consumers that they are getting authenticated and genuine Kiwi products. Consumers will be able to track their purchase from paddock to plate, with full and complete knowledge of its origin and journey with us.”