UCC Coffee launches UK’s first Farmer Connect blockchain partnership

UCC Coffee blockchain

UCC Coffee has partnered with Farmer Connect, a coffee traceability platform powered by IBM Blockchain, to launch its first blockchain-traced coffee.

Retailers and consumers can now trace Orang Utan Coffee – licensed and distributed in the United Kingdom – back to its Indonesian origin using Farmer Connect’s Thank My Farmer app.

This blockchain launch of Orang Utan Coffee also signifies two new firsts for Thank My Farmer: the addition of the UK as a consumer market and Indonesia as an origin.

“We have integrated all elements of the supply chain, from crop to cup, thanks to a combined team effort from PT Orang Utan Lestari in Sumatra, Orang Utan Regenwald in Germany, Farmer Connect in Switzerland and the UCC Coffee teams in both the UK and Switzerland, who all collaborated to achieve this milestone for UCC. And we firmly believe that further change can happen if the coffee industry works together as a whole,” says Miguel Reguera, Senior Green Coffee Buyer at UCC Coffee and Blockchain Project Leader.

“The global coffee supply chain is complex, and many people don’t realise the different stages their coffee goes through before its final brewing. By using Farmer Connect’s products, UCC is simplifying this complexity; by providing accessible, understandable and validated data uploaded at every stage of the Orang Utan Coffee journey – from the highlands of Sumatra until it reaches the coffee shelves of Waitrose and Ocado in the UK.”

Powered by the blockchain technology as IBM Food Trust, the Farmer Connect platform is designed to help increase transparency, credibility, and fairness across the whole coffee supply chain. Read more HERE.

UCC Coffee says Thank My Farmer takes transparency a step further, humanising the supply chain and connecting consumers more directly with the farmers that grow Orang Utan Coffee, simply by scanning an on-pack QR code with their mobile phone.

“We can now also bring to life the story behind the coffee through Thank My Farmer.  The consumer can view a dynamic traceability map to see where their coffee is grown, roasted and exported, help transform livelihoods and protect the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan; by promoting interaction at both ends of the supply chain, in a way that has the potential to revolutionise not just the coffee industry, but the retail industry too,” Reguera says.

“The blockchain Orang Utan Coffee launch also signifies the first time Waitrose and Ocado shoppers will be able to digitally engage with their coffee and its source in this way, and to this degree of transparency.”

Thank My Farmer also gives consumers the opportunity to become advocates for the coffee producers with shareable social media content and to support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, through optional donations via their credit card, Google Pay, or Apple Pay.

“Our partnership with UCC, and the launch of Orang Utan Coffee in Thank My Farmer, comes at a time when consumers are increasingly taking a purpose-driven approach to their shopping patterns and looking to buy products that align with their values. Research from the IBM Institute for Business Value has found that, for consumers who say sustainability is very important, 71 per cent surveyed are willing to pay a premium for sustainable and environmentally responsible brands,” says Michael Chrisment, CEO of Farmer Connect.

“But they also want more access to more information, and to feel part of positive change at the very start of the supply chain of the coffee they drink. They want to know their purchasing decisions can have an actual impact – on people, projects and the environment. Thank My Farmer helps increase this total impact. If £1 from the supply chain is matched with £1 from the consumer, we have doubled our efforts to instigate real change on the ground.”

Stocked in Waitrose and Ocado in the UK, Orang Utan Coffee is a 100 per cent Arabica, single origin coffee. UCC says it rates highly for its quality and flavour, due to the unique climate of the Gayo Highlands in Central Aceh, Northern Sumatra, where the beans are grown.

The brand is on a mission to save the rapidly declining rainforest habitat of the Sumatran orangutan, where only 6000 native primates remain in the wild today. For every kilogram of green bean coffee purchased, its coffee farmers receive €0.50 (about 67 US cents) and a further €0.50 goes to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme. To date, this independent program has safely rehabilitated well over 200 orangutans and helped make ecological coffee farming a viable alternative for local farmers to protect the orangutans’ natural habitat.

“A vast global supply chain like coffee makes it difficult for consumers to know where their products are coming from and whether the producers involved are making a living wage. Farmer Connect is partnering with pioneering brands like Orang Utan Coffee who are at the foreground of solving this problem, bridging the gap between consumers and the farmers who grow their coffee using innovations like blockchain,” says Paul Chang, Global Leader for Blockchain in the Distribution & Industrial Markets at IBM.

“By being able to easily trace coffee to its source, we can help consumers and brands around the world support coffee growing regions.”

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