Coffee drinkers today consume more than half a trillion cups per year, and as many as two-thirds of consumers aged 19-24 surveyed say they prefer to buy coffee that is sustainably grown and responsibly sourced. But the large, global supply chain makes tracing coffee difficult. Once grown, beans make several stops, including at coops, exporters, shippers, importers, roasters, distributors, and retailers before finally reaching the consumer.
Farmer Connect is employing a digital identity app with farmers, a mobile app called “Thank My Farmer” with consumers, and the blockchain technology behind IBM Food Trust to allow coffee drinkers to trace their coffee from farm to cup. Consumers scan a QR code on the coffee package, and the “Thank My Farmer” app pulls information directly from the blockchain. It connects the user to farmers, traders, roasters and brands. The information is presented on an interactive map, allowing each product to tell a story in a simple and scalable way. The "Thank My Farmer" app also presents sustainability projects in coffee communities and an opportunity for consumers to support them.
Developed with leading companies across the global supply chain including Beyers Koffie, The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), ITOCHU Corporation, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), The J.M. Smucker Company, Rabobank, RGC Coffee, Volcafe, Sucafina and Yara International, Farmer Connect launched in early 2020 with two single-origin coffee brands, one available in Europe and one in the U.S. and Canada. As the program expands, large and small companies will be invited to join to create a closed-loop circular economy that will enhance smallholder livelihoods while delivering transparency and a better experience for the consumer.