Crypto Mastermind summary:

  • Microsoft has developed an own blockchain for Starbucks. This should enable customers to view information on the origin of the coffee beans and the place of roasting, for example.

  • Farmers will also be able to see where their beans are delivered to on a traceability website.

  • The growing demand for transparency is motivating more and more food companies to use block-chain-based tools.


Coffee giant Starbucks has announced an innovation to provide more transparency in the tracking of coffee. A dedicated Starbucks blockchain will allow customers to view accurate information from farms to storage. For example, the origin of the beans, the place of roasting or even baristas‘ brewing tips would be visible via the blockchain. This should lead to more customer satisfaction, as more and more consumers are concerned about the origin of the products they buy.


Starbucks enables detailed tracking over decades through blockchain

The blockchain based tool, which is supposed to guarantee the traceability, was developed by Microsoft. Customers throughout the USA can scan the codes printed on Starbucks bags to obtain information. The code shows both where the beans came from and where they were roasted. This should make decades of traceability data visible. For almost two decades, Starbucks has been able to track every purchase of coffee from every farm. Starbucks‘ Senior Vice President of Global Coffee, Tea and Cocoa, Michelle Burns says:

„We have been able to trace every coffee we buy from every farm for almost two decades. That allowed us to have the foundation to now build a user-friendly, consumer-driven tool that certainly provides that trust and confidence to our customers that we know where all of our coffee comes from.“

But not only the customers get this opportunity. Farmers also receive their own code with which they can track their products. For them, the handling is somewhat different. They get access to the Starbucks traceability website and can enter the codes manually. Burns said, that farmers are also showing demand for such a tool:

„What they told us is they didn’t know where their coffee went, what blend it went to.“

Despite the intentional implementation, tracing can be difficult for the company. This is because the beans can get mixed up from different farms along the supply chain. Some sacks are thus traced back to the region where the beans were grown, even down to the individual farmer. Burns is confident, however, and promises customers to go as far into detail as possible. Even beans purchased by traders could be traced because a receipt is required for every transaction.

Starbucks

Demand for transparency forces companies to think differently

The tracking tool will be applicable in advance only to bags purchased directly from Starbucks stores and also not per cup. However, according to Burns, the development is just beginning, suggesting that there will be expansion.

In April, an article appeared in Chain News, that said Starbucks and McDonald’s were planning to participate in the tests for China’s digital yuan. So both seem to be interested in expanding the use of blockchain technology for their companies.

Many consumers increasingly want more transparency. They want to know where their food comes from and the guidelines according to which it was grown and processed. Many large food companies and agricultural traders are therefore increasingly required to show their supply chains more transparently. The blockchain technology is obviously very attractive for this.

In addition to Starbucks, a number of coffee roasters such as J.M. Smucker Co. and Jacobs Douwe Egberts already have joined forces last year. A blockchain initiative was developed in partnership with International Business Machines Corp. The startup Farmer Connect, which is supported by the Swiss coffee trader Sucafina SA, actively helps the companies in the tracking process. In view of these developments, the trend to create more transparency in supply chains through blockchain technology seems to grow further.


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