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UCC Coffee partners with farmer connect for blockchain coffee traceability


UCC Coffee has partnered with coffee traceability platform farmer connect to launch a blockchain traceability solution for Orang Utan Coffee. Retailers and consumers can trace UCC’s UK distribution of the coffee back to its Indonesian origin through farmers connect’s ‘Thank My Farmer’ app. 

Food traceability platforms enhance transparency across the supply chain and build trust between consumers and producers. ‘Thank My Farmer’ enhances this service by connecting consumers more directly with farmers. In the case of Orang Utan Coffee, consumers can learn more about its source and about projects supporting the coffee’s producing communities. The app also facilitates consumer activism by promoting shareable social media content and optional donations for the Sumatran Orangutan Programme. 

The information on ‘Thank My Farmer’ can be accessed by scanning a QR code on the coffee’s package.

According to a research study from the IBM Institute for Business Value, 71% of respondents said they were willing to pay a premium for sustainable brands. Michael Chrisment, CEO of farmer connect, further believes that consumers “want to know their purchasing decisions can have an actual impact on people, projects and the environment”. Orang Utan Coffee’s brand actively aids the Sumatran Orangutan and its habitat: for each kilogram of green bean coffee bought, its coffee farmers receive €0.50 and a further €0.50 is donated to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. The implementation of traceability features in the coffee packages might motivate consumers to support the cause further.

The project is UCC’s first blockchain traced coffee and the first roll-out of the farmer connect’s ‘Thank My Farmer’ app in the UK consumer market. The project is currently a case study at the London School of Economics to research consumer behavior through the application of new technologies.

Farmer connect provides supply chain digitization solutions in the coffee and cacao industry. The initiative aims to “humanize consumption through technology”. It helps farmers in the supply chain connect through its Farmer ID app to prove their identities and incomes to get loans. That’s apart from helping businesses to store and share information about their products. 

Last year, farmer connect announced a collaboration with several coffee companies to improve coffee traceability. Partners in the initiative include the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, ITOCHU Corporation, and The J.M. Smucker Company, among others. And the project uses IBM Food Trust’s technology.

Meanwhile, Nestlé’s coffee brand Zoégas joined the IBM Food Trust initiative, and Starbucks has been a partner of Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain for over two years.