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Blockchain technology lets coffee lovers know which farm their favorite brew comes from

Folgers coffee brand is now letting coffee lovers know the origins of their beans via blockchain.

Image by: Guian Bolisay / Flickr

Wed, 22 Jul 2020, 08:08 am UTC

Blockchain is the technology that powers popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). But in the coffee industry, the technology has been utilized to enhance production transparency and connect coffee lovers to the farmers who grow the beans.

In a July 15, 2020 announcement, Farmer Connect said that it has entered into a partnership with Smucker’s Folgers brand coffee, giving the latter access to the IBM blockchain platform to connect coffee producers to their customers, according to Forbes.

Connecting farmers and the coffee drinkers is made possible with the use of a QR code. Each bag of coffee has a QR code making it possible for customers to “trace their coffee back to its country of origin and learn about efforts to help farmers in coffee-growing regions,” according to JDSupra.

The relevant data about a particular bag of coffee will be stored on a tamper-proof blockchain system. It will be used “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.”

With the system in place, coffee farmers will be able to better manage their crops in response to the demands of the broader markets. It will also remove inefficiencies in the supply chain and even eliminate third-party services and the middleman.

It will also give consumers the power to choose where to source their next bag of coffee thanks to the traceability of the system. “Leveraging IBM’s blockchain technology, consumers can now trace their coffee back to its origin on a platform designed to help increase traceability, efficiency, and fairness in the coffee supply chain,” Folgers said.

“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,” J.M. Smucker Company senior vice president and general manager of coffee Joe Stanziano said. “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.”

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