Big Coffee Sellers Use Blockchain To Connect Farmers And Customers

Production transparency and blockchain technology are natural partners in the transformation of supply chain management. This may seem like a business platitude written about a new corporate event, but distributed ledger technology keeps making progress with large companies.

Farmer Connect announced today that it would partner with Smucker’s Folgers brand coffee to use the IBM
blockchain platform connecting producers to customers. A QR code will allow consumers who buy 1850 Coffee to see how it was grown and brought to the shelf.

Farmer Connect wants to eliminate inefficiencies in our food supply – this means removing the middleman and third-party services, which take from the small farmer’s bottom-line. Blockchain technology will validate the food crop, in this case coffee, to the farmer and its source location.

Will this increase coffee sales? The future is unclear; no one knows today.

Blockchain authentication and identification may not grow Sucker’s profits, but it could help farmers better manage their crops directly with broader markets. In effect, this announcement between Farmer Connect, IBM and Smucker is a prototype for new blockchain ventures.

Folger’s will be the first large U.S. food brand to use this service. IBM said in the announcement, “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.”

Farmer Connect’s website will provide where the coffee was grown, processed, and exported. Consumers can understand if the drink in their hands was part of clean water and small farm agriculture initiatives.

“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, senior vice president 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 favorite morning drink, it also gives them the opportunity to support these hardworking smallholder farmers and their families.”

Time will tell.