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Mexico’s Toks restaurant chain adopts SIMBA Chain blockchain for coffee traceability


Mexico’s family restaurant chain Toks has partnered with the blockchain platform SIMBA Chain to develop a traceability solution for its coffee supply chain. Toks, among several items on its menu, serves coffee crafted from its sustainably sourced, roasted, and ground coffee beans. 

Toks is a popular restaurant chain in Mexico and currently has 208 outlets across the country. It is owned by Mexican listed conglomerate Grupo Gigante, whose other chains include Office Depot and The Home Store. 

Meanwhile, SIMBA Chain is best known for its U.S. Air Force contracts, and a few months ago raised $1.5 million in a seed round. But following up on its defense contracts, it now has more than a thousand applications on its platform, which supports Ethereum, Quorum, Hyperledger Fabric, Stellar and other blockchains.

Coffee supply chains are inherently complex, with a large number of intermediaries such as growers, traders, roasters, curers, and other processors. Toks said it works with cooperatives of small farmers to source coffee beans that go into each of its restaurants. Working with SIMBA Chain, Toks will develop a distributed application (Dapp) prototype to register and track coffee beans as they are purchased, processed, packaged, and sold by Toks. 

SIMBA Chain recently launched a cloud-based smart contract as a service platform that helps enterprises deploy Dapps faster. Toks aims to use this solution to build a Dapp for coffee bean traceability. 

“Smart contracts are a powerful tool for food producers and restaurant companies that want to bring enhanced security and traceability to their supply chain,” said Joel Neidig, CEO and Co-founder of SIMBA Chain. 

“It is important that we authenticate, track, and trace every bag by farmer, coffee grade as well as production dates. SIMBA Chain’s smart contract solution will help Toks maintain the high quality that our customers expect and enjoy,” said Gustavo Pérez Berlanga, Senior VP of sustainability and social responsibility for Toks Restaurant Group. 

The project will begin in May, and a prototype is expected to be delivered by September 2020. 

SIMBA Chain was founded after a DARPA (U.S. Defence agancy) grant to the computing department of the University of Notre Dame and Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO). It has since assisted the U.S. defense departments with blockchain solutions. 

SIMBA worked with the U.S. Air Force on an aircraft parts manufacturing traceability blockchain. The solution helped verify 3D printing data for aircraft parts. Most recently, it won a $9.5 million contract to deploy a blockchain-based messaging and transaction platform for the Naval Air Warfare Center. Separately, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) tested SIMBA’s blockchain solution for tracking aircraft parts.

Among food traceability projects, IBM’s Food Trust has several high-profile clients worldwide. J.M. Smucker, Douwe Egberts, and a few others are using IBM’s blockchain through their partnership with Farmer Connect for coffee traceability.

Starbucks is also exploring blockchain for coffee traceability.