ofi and Melitta partner to offer consumers differentiated and fully traceable coffee
Image: Michael Burrows / Pexels
An innovative coffee pilot project with selected specialty coffees between ofi (olam food ingredients) and Melitta Europa GmbH & Co KG – Coffee Division – is combining the capabilities of blockchain with other digital tools to meet growing consumer demand for coffee that not only stands out for its aroma and taste but is also traceable – from farm to roaster.
“Consumers are increasingly interested in where their ingredients come from, but traceability is notoriously challenging in coffee supply chains because of their fragmented nature. The beans are sourced from smallholder farmers scattered across remote areas and often change hands multiple times before reaching the roaster,” said Florian Schmidt, general manager, coffee, at ofi.
“This is why we’re innovating with our customers to deepen our digital presence on the ground to improve traceability. This benefits both farmers and coffee lovers, who are becoming increasingly quality-oriented and experience-driven,” Schmidt continues.
At farm level, ofi sources high-quality lots via its proprietary smartphone app from smallholder farmers located in the south-central region of Guatemala. It allows farmers to negotiate and transact with ofi directly. Each transaction is tagged with the farm location and date and provides the source data for Melitta’s SAP material traceability tool, using blockchain technology.
The sustainability insights platform AtSource adds a layer of transparency for customers. The social and environmental footprint of a coffee purchase can be measured across 100+ metrics, at various stages of the supply chain journey – at farmer group level, through processing and logistics, up to the roaster.
For the final consumer, scanning a second QR code on the back of a Melitta specialty coffee bag – like this one for a Guatemala Honey from producer Yoni Garcia – directs them to the unique story of the farmer and processing method behind their coffee.
Jörg Lehmann, head of green coffee management/logistics at Melitta, said: “Using SAP´s material traceability technology together with ofi’s digital tools and Scantrust’s Connected Packaging Platform and QR Codes, we can take consumers on a virtual journey from our manufacturer in Bremen, Germany, all the way back to the farms in the Guatemala highlands where their arabica beans were grown. For these three selected coffees from Guatemala, they can access videos of the farmer explaining everything that goes into producing these quality beans. They can learn about the specific processing method used and how it shapes the desired aroma and flavour. We’re connecting the people who drink our coffee, with the people that grow it.”