Mercanta’s Goal to Digitize and Improve Traceability
Here at Mercanta, we pride ourselves on knowing the full traceability of each coffee we purchase. Essentially, we seek to understand the coffee’s journey from origin to warehouse, and we strive to relay this information to our various clients around the world. Mapping our supply chain right down to farm level has enabled us to nurture invaluable relationships with our producer partners, culminating in the exchange of quality products for premium prices.
In recent history, we at Mercanta have been seeking an improved method for sharing this information with our partners along the coffee supply chain. Therefore, in 2021, we launched a trial in conjunction with a New Zealand-based software company that provided us with the necessary tools to present our traceability data via a consolidated, accessible platform. After this trial period of introducing innovative technology to our suppliers at origin and obtaining positive feedback from those involved, Mercanta are pleased to announce our official partnership with Rfider.
The primary goal of this partnership is to digitize as many of our processes and to improve the traceability of our coffees. We wish to make this information more accessible for everyone in real time through a digital experience. All of this is possible via the scanning of a QR code unique to each individual sack of coffee.
The process begins by initiating an agreement with our partners at origin to tag each sack of coffee with the aforementioned QR codes. A profile is then created for each coffee, including traceability information and photos to create the coffee’s story. Actors along our value chain can scan one of these codes, encrypting the coffee’s journey in a ledger using the actors’ GPS phone signal. This could be the producer themselves, one of the hardworking individuals at the Mill, or the Exporter.
Once the coffees arrive at the designated warehouse, a Mercanta staff member scans one code per batch to record that the coffee has been received. We can also attach our lab data to the experience, such as cupping notes and moisture content percentage. Roasters and customers then have the ability to not only access the traceability information for each coffee purchased by scanning a QR code, but can also view the coffee’s journey from the mill to the warehouse via encrypted images that were taken and uploaded along the way. Finally, Roasters are able to inherit all of this information to convey the story behind each and every bag of roasted coffee they sell.
Ultimately, we are hoping to help our entire value chain transition to evidence-based storytelling in a digital, compelling and contextual way. We would like to thank everyone who has made this possible, and especially to the Rfider Team and our partners at Origin whose commitment has been absolute.
So far, we have successfully tagged shipments exported by partners in Brazil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Mexico and even Papua New Guinea In total, we have tagged almost 150 different lots from each of these regions, meaning that there are thousands of Mercanta coffee bags circulating the globe containing this new form of technology and the key to the future of traceability.
We hope to further this initiative and help create a positive future for coffee producers and roasters throughout Mercanta’s supply chain.