News Supply chain

JM Smucker 1850 Coffee to be traced on IBM Food Trust Blockchain


Farmer Connect is a blockchain startup with a food traceability application that uses IBM’s Food Trust. Its relationship with J.M. Smucker Company was previously announced, but the 1850 Coffee brand is now live using the Farmer Connect solution. The startup’s other coffee partners are the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), ITOCHU Corporation, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), RGC Coffee, Beyers Koffie, and Sucafina.

Elsewhere there are numerous other blockchain coffee offerings, including for Nestlé’s Nespresso and Zoégas coffees, Starbucks, and India’s Coffee Board.

J.M. Smucker announcement

Note: we are experimenting with some articles, publishing the announcement, sometimes prefixed with a brief commentary.

1850 Coffee, a J. M. Smucker Company brand, in partnership with Farmer Connect, is pioneering a new era in coffee transparency through its 100% Colombian Coffee bagged offering. Leveraging IBM’s blockchain technology, consumers can now trace their coffee back to its region of origin on a platform designed to help increase traceability, efficiency and fairness in the coffee supply chain.

By easily scanning a QR code on the bag of coffee, their device will route them to the Thank My Farmer website, which provides information about where the coffee was grown, processed and exported, and the location of its roast. They can also learn more about Farmer Connect projects underway to support coffee producers and their families in Colombia such as providing clean drinking water for schools; coffee seedlings for smallholder farms; school supplies for local schools; and sustainable water and agriculture initiatives. This comes at a time when more consumers are taking a purpose-driven approach to their shopping patterns and purchasing products that more closely align with their values. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value, for those who say sustainability is very important, 71% surveyed are willing to pay a premium for sustainable and environmentally responsible brands.

“We know that consumers are increasingly interested in transparency in the supply chains for the products they enjoy and we have been committed to helping promote this as part of our coffee sustainability strategy,” said Joe Stanziano, senior vice president and general manager of coffee at The J.M. Smucker Company. “Our work with Farmer Connect and IBM not only helps connect coffee lovers to the producers who provide their favorite morning drink, it also gives them the opportunity to support these hardworking smallholder farmers and their families.”

The coffee supply chain is complex given that green coffee is produced by more than 25 million smallholder farmers, as opposed to the larger farms that are associated with delivering the majority of other commodities. Through the blockchain platform, consumers can have access to unprecedented transparency and can participate in a global circular economy where consumers can be directly involved in the agricultural communities that produce their food and drink through donations made to farmers and communities.

This transparency is achieved by using blockchain to record data about supply chain events in the coffee’s journey; including which beans were used, when they were roasted, ports they were shipped to and beyond. Information about these events is recorded on an immutable ledger, creating increased accountability for coffee producers and their supply chain partners and helping ensure products are what they say they are.

“Working with The J. M. Smucker Company has been a remarkable opportunity to shine a brighter light on the work of the farmers who grow the beans,” said IBM Food Trust general manager Raj Rao. “By combining blockchain and other technologies, we can give coffee drinkers the tools they need to feel connected to the region where their coffee comes from and even support the farmers and local communities through donations that impact local organizations and schools.”

1850 100% Colombian bagged coffee is a bold, yet smooth blend of premium Colombian Arabica beans. It has a lively and full-bodied taste that’s unique to Colombian coffee. It’s available at Amazon, Meijer and other retailers throughout the United States and Canada.