Cho, one of the largest olive oil producers in the southern Mediterranean, has partnered with IBM on blockchain to track its Terra Delyssa extra virgin olive oil and ensure good quality.
The partners will track eight different quality control points, including the garden where the olives were grown; the mill where the olives were crushed; and the facilities where it was filtered, bottled, distributed and more.
The agreement comes shortly after IBM announced a similar partnership to improve the supply of blockchain coffee so coffee drinkers can track their coffee beans to the original farmers. Blockchain is the transparent and secure distributed ledger that makes cryptocurrencies possible. Since it offers a secure identification of the products, it helps to solve problems such as fraud or forgery.
Cho, based in Tunisia, has already begun monitoring with its most recent harvest now packaged. Therefore, customers of Terra Delyssa retailers worldwide will be able to scan a QR code on each label, which will allow them to see a record of provenance. By detailing every step of the product’s journey, consumers can rest assured about the origins of their olive oil and a richer view of their trip and quality control points, and even see images of the fields where the olives were grown .
Cho is the last major food supplier to join the IBM Food Trust, an authorized blockchain network that provides a more efficient way of working throughout the food supply chain for producers, processors, carriers, retailers, regulators and consumers.
Terra Delyssa, a brand known for its transparency profile and mild flavor, is grown in Cho’s pesticide-free orchards with an average of 320 days of sunshine. The oil is cold pressed under strict standards and is made entirely from a single source. The company has already started using Food Trust to manage and record the traceability efforts of its extra virgin line, the highest quality olive oil according to the classification of the International Olive Oil Council and the USDA.
The media coverage of the wrong labeling of olive oil and the illicit operations of counterfeit olive oil, in addition to the general confusion about how olive oils are mixed, has been generating distrust of consumers. And even for products surrounded by less confusion, today’s consumers still demand authenticity and transparency: a recent study by the IBM Institute for Commercial Value found that 73% of consumers will pay a premium for the total transparency of products that they buy.
The use of blockchain technology creates a meticulous and verifiable record of where each bottle of olive oil was produced and the methods used. This information can be shared almost in real time with distributors, retailers and other authorized members of the company’s supply chain.
Cho America CEO Wajih Rekik said in a statement that the company’s farmers and millers have been producing olive oil for generations. With Food Trust, he said his company will be among the first olive oil producers to use blockchain to give consumers a window at every step that is needed to make olive oil.
Raj Rao, general manager of the IBM Food Trust, said in a statement that the agreement is another example of strengthening the food system from farm to table. People will be able to verify the origin and purity of the product in near real time, he said.