Swiss food giant Nestle is expanding the IBM blockchain food traceability solution to the tracking of its Zoegas coffee brand.
Nestle joined IBM Food Trust in 2017 to provide more transparency about the source of food that customers purchase.
In a blog post, Nestle said that it will add QR codes to “Summer 2020” coffee product range, which is sold in Sweden. Customers will then be able to scan these QR codes to learn how their beans were sourced. It will customers to follow the journey of coffee beans from their growing location to the Zoegas factory in Helsingborg, with all the information stored on the IBM food traceability solution.
Partnership with Rainforest Alliance
Nestle has also partnered with Rainforest Alliance, a non-profit sustainable product certification organization. This partnership will allow the organization to provide reliable data about Zoegas coffee and record the data directly on the IBM Food Trust blockchain platform. The rest of the data will be provided by Nestle itself.
This is the first time Nestle has partnered with a third party to provide supply chain data for its product tracking solutions. After three years of testing and experimenting with the IBM blockchain food tracking solution, Nestle felt the platform was ready for more data sources.
“[Rainforest Alliance] certify many of our coffees, but they were also very open to innovation to bring this information to consumers in a different way,” a Nestle spokesperson told CoinDesk.
Rainforest Alliance has already worked with supply chain software firm ChainPoint to track coffee products using blockchain technology.
Improving Transparency in the Food Chain
Over the past few years, Nestle has been using blockchain to gain more transparency into its supply chain. Food chain transparency is at the forefront for many companies as customers are becoming more aware of the products they consume. They want to know that the ingredients used are sourced ethically and sustainably.
Nestle is a founding member of the IBM Food Trust along with nine other companies including Dole Food Co., Golden State Foods, Driscolli Inc., among others.
However, the company is also piloting a sustainability supply chain solution by OpenSC to track milk from the producers in New Zealand. OpenSC blockchain platform offers everyone the opportunity to verify the authenticity of product sourcing and sustainability data.
While the partnership with OpenSC helps to capture similar data as IBM’s Food Trust, it goes further by merging ethics-linked information and sustainability. This enables end-to-end food traceability.
Another of Nestlé’s blockchain for traceability in supply chain initiative Chain of Origin’, was nominated for the 2019 IDC Digital Transformation Awards. However, Nestle admitted that the blockchain project was considerably more challenging than many other digital innovation initiatives the company has launched in recent years.
In 2019, Nestle and French retailer Carrefour teamed up to provide customers the ability to track Mousline Puree throughout the supply chain. The two companies have also previously worked together to offer food traceability for infant milk formula.
Nestle recent move with Rainforest Alliance, however, is geared towards even greater transparency, testing out the use of a third party. This would allow a greater pool of independently available information for the public to see regarding the process and journey Zoegas coffee beans go through in their lifetime.
Through the cooperation with Rainforest Alliance, Nestle aims to provide such added independent data to consumers and industry professionals. It will also make it easier for companies that are not part of the Food Trust to participate in the IBM’s blockchain traceability platform.