News Supply chain

Sustainable Segafredo coffee brand to use Farmer Connect blockchain traceability


Italian Coffee producer Massimo Zanetti will launch a sustainable coffee brand titled Segafredo Storia, where its supply chain will be traced using Farmer Connect’s blockchain solution. The brand is expected to be available in 11 European markets by April and the rest of the world by the beginning of next year.

Coffee production has faced ethical challenges with anonymous farmers at the end of a complex supply chain. A key issue is workers earning a salary below the minimum living wage. Moreover, the environmental footprint of a cup of coffee should not be overlooked. An average 125ml cup of coffee requires 140 liters of water to be produced. 

The implementation of blockchain across Segafredo’s supply chain provides Zanetti immutable data on production. The data can be monitored and analyzed to spot inefficiencies in production and explore processes where sustainable practices can be implemented. Regarding accountability towards farmers, the transparency aspect of blockchain ensures claims of ethical production and fair wages can be proven. 

For this initiative, 51 farmers from Lempira and Intibuca in Honduras were selected to participate. The collaboration between the farmers and Zanneti is supported and overseen by the Rainforest Alliance, a non-profit global leader in sustainability certifications. 

Beyond traceability, Farmer Connect’s service is differentiated from other blockchain offerings because it emphasizes the farmer’s story and promotes a stronger connection with the end consumer. The coffee packages will also reflect these values and include photos of the people involved in the coffee production, from Honduras’ farms to Finland’s roastery. 

Like most traceable food and beverage products, the packaging of the coffee will have a QR code that can be scanned through a mobile phone. The code leads to Farmer Connect’s app, which has information on how and where the coffee was grown, and who processed and exported it. By collecting encrypted data on blockchain, the app shows consumers the journey of the coffee beans to its final destination on a map. Regarding sustainability, the app provides a series of resources for consumers to explore sustainable projects and efforts in Honduras to which they can contribute. 

There has been an increase in demand for traceability by consumers, most likely heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to an IBM study, in 2020, 44% of Europeans said they see value in information about the farmers who grow their food and 92% of Italian consumers said having food traceability on the blockchain would be valuable. As such, we can expect more food and beverage brands to follow the blockchain trend. 

Meanwhile, Farmer Connect is powered by IBM Food Trust. This week, the company announced a $9m Series A funding led by ITOCHU to continue exploring solutions to improve the sustainability of food supply chains. The startup has a partnership with UK coffee distributor UCC Coffee for the traceability of Orang Utan Coffee, which works similarly to the Storia coffee solution. J.M Smucker Company’s 1850 Coffee brand and Douwe are also using the solution.