A new software solution based on blockchain technology to track fresh produce from farm to fork, as well as measure the climate impact with the aim to reduce food waste, is nearly ready to be rolled out across Europe and further afield. This is according to the developer and CEO of Nature Preserve, Dr Anantha Peramuna, who is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Our solution is to help to get rid of inefficiencies in the food supply chain thereby creating climate conscious food products and less food waste. With the software we built, producers can get a view of the whole supply chain or just one company. We make it easier and cheaper to calculate the environmental footprint of food products. Businesses are informed of actions to minimise waste and to understand and reduce their environmental footprint,” says Dr Peramuna.
“There is a lot of market interest from Europe in our solution. Consumers want to know where their food comes from and the environmental impact of it. There is a clear market signal that consumers are demanding more sustainable products. In the past you could get away with vague claims, but in European countries, policy from government is being developed to force companies to back their claims with numbers. According to research 40% of companies that make green claims could be misleading customers,” explains Dr Peramuna.
The pilot phase currently underway involves different commodities including a blueberry and strawberry farm in Portugal. “At the berry producer, we start tracking from the farm to the sorting, packaging facilities and retail. We track and do an environmental footprint analysis across 16 different categories. We could also climate score products, eg. Eco-Score.”
The technology runs on blockchain, when you do a transaction on blockchain the data is immutable, which increases the data integrity. Companies can use the data to present as evidence to any authority like Global Gap. The software identifies the hot spots, where the inefficiencies are and provide companies with actionable data. The system can also track freshness, expiration dates and documents related to products such as organic or Fairtrade certificates.
To illustrate the power of the software, Nature Preserve created a juice product made from surplus carrots. “We did it to show the market how the system works. By scanning the QR code on the juice bottle and selecting the batch number, consumers can access the climate impact of the specific batch and track the impact of all the ingredients to the farm.
“Our algorithms can do impact assessment of almost any fruit, vegetable, grain or spice related product, processed or fresh including all mainstream fruit as well as avocados, mangoes etc. Today, if you want to do a climate impact assessment it is very expensive, takes a lot of time and the number you get is static. Perhaps, you have to go through this process every year to update the number. We can get the farm information and do the assessment much faster and much cheaper. Producers can also make instant changes making the data much more dynamic. If they have many data points, through the many stand-alone systems often found on farms, it makes business sense for us to integrate all of that data, because we make use of blockchain together with the internet of things,” says Dr Peramuna.
He says the Nature Preserve software will be commercially available from about July 2022 as soon as the pilot study phase is completed in three months’ time. “There is already great interest from different type of commodity producers and even food processing equipment manufactures across Denmark who are keen to take it up. Further interest is coming from across Europe while the pilot study is also done with a company in the US.”
Nature Preserve received funding from venture capital partners. They also received a lot of Danish grants to develop and commercialise the software.