Nonfungible token (NFT) adoption is picking up steam across the food and beverage industry, with many fast-food chains showing interest in the asset class.
A report by Research and Markets predicts that the global food and beverage NFT market size is expected to exceed $2 billion by 2032. These statistics have been evident as global fast-food brands, including Pizza Hut and Papa John’s, are recently discovering new ways to integrate NFTs into their marketing strategies.
The report states that the key supporting factors for the market are the adoption of blockchain technology, and the demand for NFTs for transparency and traceability in the food industry. Unique ownership opportunities, using NFTs in virtual reality and video games, and promotions and advertising from food companies and restaurants are other factors expected to drive the market in the forecast period.
NFTs are unique digital assets verified using blockchain technology — a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions transparently and securely.
The value of an NFT can vary greatly depending on the rarity and popularity of the item it represents, with some NFTs selling for millions of dollars. In the food industry, the NFT market is gaining traction due to the demand for transparency and traceability. Tracking and verifying food origin, quality, and safety is crucial for consumers, retailers and regulators.
In March 2021, Pizza Hut Canada joined the NFT trend with “1 Byte Favorites” — a digital pizza collection. The NFTs represented pizza slices with unique recipes on Rarible, featuring popular choices like Hawaiian, Pepperoni, Canadian and Margherita. The NFTs gained popularity and sold out, being used as a marketing campaign to promote their pan pizzas and engage customers.
Papa John’s — a pizza take-out chain — entered the NFT market with its “Hot Bags” collection. These NFTs showcased handbag designs to promote their new business line, Papa John’s X Cheddar, which offers merchandise. The NFTs were minted on the Tezos blockchain, with the numbers symbolizing the company’s founding year (1984).
However, the report mentions that NFT adoption in the food and beverage industry is hindered by technical complexities, especially for smaller producers. Limited awareness among consumers and industry stakeholders about NFT benefits also poses a challenge.