Smucker’s works with Farmer Connect for blockchain-based coffee transparency

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

The J.M. Smucker Company is working to ‘pioneer a new era in coffee transparency’ by utilising blockchain technology.

Smucker’s is partnering with Farmer Connect, a startup which utilises IBM’s blockchain to tackle traceability in the farm-to-fork journey. The company came to prominence when launching its consumer-facing provenance app at this year’s CES – which until this year was hardly a hive of blockchain activity.

Now, that consumer-facing app has a major client on board. Once consumers scan a QR code on their bag of coffee, their device will take them to the Thank My Farmer website, which provides information about where their coffee was grown, processed and exported. The coffee being trialled by Smucker’s is the 1850 100% Colombian bagged.

The company cited a study from the IBM Institute for Business Value which found 71% of those surveyed, who said sustainability was very important, would 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, SVP 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 favourite morning drink, it also gives them the opportunity to support these hardworking smallholder farmers and their families.”

Speaking to this publication at CES in January, Jason Kelly, general manager for blockchain services at IBM, said sustainability drives will continue to increase, both from blockchain and other emerging technologies. “IBM is seeing blockchain act as a catalyst for AI, IoT, and automation across the industry at large, from provenance of electronic components in the supply chain, to consumer confidence and trust in products and services, including ethical sourcing and sustainability of what makes up those products,” he said.

Read more: From bean growing to bean counting: Farmer Connect launches coffee provenance app with IBM blockchain

Photo by karl chor on Unsplash

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