Close up of IBM sign at their headquarters located in Silicon Valley
Close up of IBM sign at their headquarters located in Silicon Valley in Foster City, California, USA on February 19, 2020. Shutterstock

A Spanish olive oil cooperative and Argentinian oil supplier are among the latest firms to join the IBM Food Trust network, which traces the supply chain of products to ensure their quality and authenticity, IBM said in a press release on 11 November.

According to the announcement, olive oil producers Conde de Benalua, a Spanish cooperative with more than 2,000 farmers, and Argentinian olive oil supplier Rolar de Cuyo will be using IBM’s Food Trust and cloud platforms to allow their customers to trace the lifecycle, authenticity and quality of their products. The two firms are the latest addition to the IBM Food Trust olive oil’s network, which was joined by Tunisia-based producer CHO and Italian family-run oil mill I Potti de Fratini earlier this year. Rolar de Cuyo’s director, Guillermo José Albornoz, said in a statement:

“Our mission is to provide customers quality olive oil so they can enjoy a genuine and healthy product. Rolar de Cuyo’s objective in using blockchain technology is to ensure olive oil packers worldwide trust us and choose us. IBM blockchain technology provides the transparency we need to trace the origin of our products, complying with all quality processes to reach consumers’ tables.”

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IBM stressed in its press release that the demand for transparency in the sector has been growing, partially due to recent reports of olive oil counterfeits and misleading labels. The firm pointed to a recent study conducted by its Institute for Business Value, which claims that 73% of consumers are ready to pay a premium price for products that are fully transparent about their production. IBM’s study confirms the findings of a 2018 research, conducted by the Food Marketing Institute. The sales manager of CHO, Chris Fowler, confirmed that traceability increases the demand of a product, saying:

“Our Terra Delyssa brand of premium olive oil has seen a spike in demand since bottles of traceable olive oil reached stores shelves earlier this year. Consumers in the US and Canada can now buy Terra Delyssa premium extra virgin olive oil in more than 10,000 grocery stores and online platforms, with more retailers adding Terra Delyssa’s premium, traceable olive oil to their shelves.”

CHO further noted that it could better predict the demand for its product since implementing the traceability feature to its olive oil bottles. By using its new consumer traceability app, the firm was able to anticipate the spike in demand, which rose by 30% during the pandemic, due to an increase in consumers cooking at home.

The Food Trust uses IBM’s blockchain and cloud technology to track, trace and store data in the supply chain of olive oil. The initiative allows consumers to access the information of a product by simply scanning the QR code on the bottle, which lets them know what criteria was met for the oil in each bottle.

More and more companies are getting on board with IBM’s Food Trust network. The platform is already being used by Swiss food giant Nestle and French retailer Carrefour to track the supply chain of baby milk products. Earlier this year, the Norwegian Seafood Association also joined the network, in order to provide safer and better seafood products to consumers worldwide.

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