UCC coffee launches first famer connect blockchain partnership
UCC Coffee has partnered with farmer connect, a coffee traceability platform powered by IBM Blockchain, to launch UCC’s first-ever blockchain traced coffee.
Retailers and consumers can now trace Orang Utan Coffee – licensed and distributed in the UK by UCC – back to its Indonesian origin using farmer connects Thank My Farmer. This launch also signifies two new firsts for Thank My Farmer itself – the addition of the UK as a consumer market, and Indonesia as an origin.
Powered by the same state-of-the-art 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. It helps to build farm-to-consumer trust by providing detailed information about where the product has been sourced.
Thank My Farmer takes this transparency a step further by humanizing the supply chain and connecting consumers more directly with the farmers that grow Orang Utan Coffee. They can learn more about the Indonesian origin of their coffee and the projects underway to support its coffee-producing communities, by scanning an on-pack QR code with their mobile phone.
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.
Miguel Reguera, Senior Green Coffee Buyer at UCC Coffee and Blockchain Project Leader, said: “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.
“The global coffee supply chain is complex, and many people don’t realize the different stages their coffee goes through before its final brewing. By using farmer connects products, UCC is simplifying this complexity; by providing accessible, understandable, and validated data uploaded at every stage of the Orang Utan Coffee1 journey – from the highlands of Sumatra until it reaches the coffee shelves of Waitrose and Ocado in the UK.”
Michael Chrisment, CEO of farmer connect, commented: “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% surveyed are willing to pay a premium for sustainable and environmentally responsible brands.
“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, Orang Utan Coffee is a 100% Arabica, single-origin coffee, rated highly for its quality and flavor due to the 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 6,000 native primates remain in the wild today – which is why for every kilo of green bean coffee purchased, its coffee farmers receive €0.50 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.