French agribusiness firm Avril Group announced in February it had joined the IBM Food Trust blockchain for food traceability. Initially, it will provide customers with provenance details of its fresh eggs brand Matines.
The Avril Group has a presence in about 21 countries and earned revenues of €6.1 billion ($6.7 billion) in 2018. Avril’s Matines brand positions its eggs as being high quality across several types, from organic to free-range and standard eggs.
In 2018 the company signed an agreement with an animal welfare NGO and made a commitment that by 2025 it would only sell eggs from hens reared in laying barns or under free-range, or organic conditions. Last year it went even further committing to raising hens without antibiotics and fed with 100% French cereals.
To fully communicate the benefits to its customers, blockchain could help to prove its claims. The Group believes traceability could directly contribute to the company’s social responsibility initiatives, particularly for quality livestock and animal welfare.
Matines eggs will come with a QR code printed inside the egg box, which will take the customers to a dedicated application providing details of the eggs. This includes the farming method and practices, how the hens were fed, and dates for egg-laying, packaging, and dispatch from warehouses. Additionally, the consumer could query for more information such as the nutritional qualities and even suggested recipes.
All the data will be recorded by the blockchain at each stage, and enable transparency in the claims made by the company.
IBM’s blockchain is based on the open source Hyperledger Fabric protocol. The Hyperledger Global Forum takes place in March in Phoenix featuring numerous industry luminaries.
IBM Food Trust is one of the highest-profile blockchain food traceability initiatives, primarily due to its adopters. French supermarket chain Carrefour and Nestle were among the first companies which went live on the platform.
Meanwhile, Labeyrie and Gruppo Grigi joined the platform a few months ago. More recently, Tunisian olive oil producer CHO started using IBM’s platform for track and trace of its extra virgin olive oil brand.