September, 2018 – Albert Heijn has taken the next step in offering transparency to customers. It is using blockchain technology to make the production chain of its own-brand sustainable orange juice completely transparent, in partnership with its supplier, Refresco. Never before have consumers been able to follow the chain of a product like orange juice in this way. Through a QR code on the packaging, they can track the entire route travelled by a bottle of orange juice, from the grove to the store shelf.
Albert Heijn’s Commercial Director Marit van Egmond said, “Every day we provide millions of customers with delicious food and drinks. That is a big responsibility. We want to make an active contribution on issues that are important to our customers – by making our products healthier, reducing food waste and limiting our impact on the environment. Transparency in the chain is becoming increasingly important. We know all the steps that our products go through to ensure that they are produced with respect for people, animals and the environment and we want to show these steps to our customers, in an open and transparent way.”
Albert Heijn has been partnering for years with the growers and suppliers of its 11,000 own-brand products. Some products, such as fruits and vegetables from the Netherlands, have a production process that is relatively easy to understand. Products with a longer chain or several ingredients have a more complex production process. Blockchain, a technology that tracks and records every step in the chain, makes it possible to show customers how and by whom products are made, even in these more complex cases. Albert Heijn and Refresco are using blockchain for the first time in this own-brand sustainable orange juice.
Customers can now use a QR code on the packaging to follow the entire route the orange juice travels before it reaches their shopping cart. It starts at the Rainforest Alliance-certified orange groves of LDC Juice in Brazil where the fruit is harvested. It will show, among other things, which quality marks the growers have for food safety and sustainability. The blockchain also contains information about the oranges themselves, such as the picking period and degree of sweetness. Customers can view the details in the chain and even pay a compliment to the growers with a “Like2Farmer” functionality.
Maarten Kusters, Managing Director Refresco Benelux, said, “This is a unique way to bring the grower, processor, bottler, retailer and consumer together and make the entire process of producing fruit juice transparent. We are delighted that we, as a partner of Albert Heijn, can contribute to this process.” Murilo Prada, CEO of LDC Juice, agrees that this is a great opportunity for all involved and says “The project also illustrates the immense potential of blockchain technology.”
Han de Groot, CEO Rainforest Alliance congratulated Albert Heijn on the new initiative, saying, “It is nice that so many consumers can enjoy orange juice that contributes to improving the environment and the future of orange farmers and their families. More and more consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it is made, so it's great that customers can follow the route of their orange juice. We encourage other parties to follow this example.”