Caffe BarberaShelfNow, as part of its commitment to working with ethical producers and buyers, becomes the first UK partner to enable Caffè Barbera to improve traceability using blockchain technology. Partnered with Trackgood, a New Zealand software company, Caffè Barbera has introduced blockchain to validate its supply chain and share the journey of its coffee – from the plantation to the cup – with its customers.

Elio Barbera, Managing Director of Caffè Barbera, commented: “As a leader in technological innovation in our industry, we’re pleased to be partnered with a forward-thinking company similar to our own to support us on our journey.

“ShelfNow provides us with a unique proposition to connect directly with buyers and use cutting edge technology to optimise our process and shares our vision for a modern and innovative food and beverage industry. As we continue our expansion in the UK, we’re proud to be working with an innovative digital marketplace like ShelfNow.”

What does it do?

By scanning a QR code on their smartphones, customers discover the places – and faces – of those involved in the supply chain. Available documents will include:

  • images of plantations
  • profiles of the farmers
  • quality certificates
  • lot numbers
  • even travel documents.

The certified public information is counterfeit-proof. This is a function delivered by the Symbol blockchain protocol. The operational function is a cryptographic hash that confirms authenticity.

ShelfNow and Caffè Barbera

Launched in 2019, ShelfNow is a European B2B online marketplace which:

  • seeks to bridge the gap between smaller, high-quality food and beverage producers and independent buyers in the hospitality and retail sectors
  • facilitates the building of relationships
  • deliver an easier, in ShelfNow’ word ‘smoother’ way to trade
  • offer a transparent business approach.

After identifying the most common concerns of buyers and producers – producers routinely find wholesale costs expensive while buyers struggle with the amount of time it takes to find new products without the help of a middleman – ShelfNow wants to create a business model which:

  • recognises and then addresses such stumbling blocks
  • simplifies processes.

ShelfNow as a UK partner of the Caffè Barbera Italian coffee roastery will support the latter’s expansion (Cafè Barbera has two shops opening in the UK in 2022). An important ‘ingredient’ – ShelfNow also partners with sustainable producers and buyers. Already some 75%+ of its producers use sustainable packaging. Of these, some 20% are entirely plastic-free.

ShelfNow also allows users to select local artisan producers. The objective is the reduction of trade’s impact on the environment. Between 2020 and 2021, the platform recorded a 140% increase in sales of products with sustainable packaging.

Philip Linardos, Co-founder and CEO of ShelfNow, said: “We’re delighted at the news that one of our key partners has introduced more transparency, sustainability and innovation into its processes. We strive to work exclusively with companies that are prioritising ethical practices as we are conscious of the ongoing impact of climate change.

“As a company at the forefront of innovation and technology, we’re excited to be working with like-minded companies. We aim to integrate blockchain technology into our platform in the near future and help our small business partners to introduce efficient and modern practices into their business models.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

Enterprise Times has described over the past few years many coffee and blockchain combinations (for example Ambrosus and Grainchain). These have tended to focus on the growers/production dimension, with the consumer being an added dimension.

This ShelfNow/Caffè Barbera tie-up is not earth-shattering. But it does seem to start with a consumer focus – and wraps in broader packaging/environmental aspects while also exploiting blockchain technology for the coffee details. Arguably this brings blockchain closer and closer to the men and women in the street.

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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.


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