Startups, ideas: mapping foods for more sustainable agriculture

Startups, ideas: mapping foods for more sustainable agriculture

Startups, ideas

London - Blockchain and smart contracts. End-to-end check from production to distribution, with an in-depth analysis of the food components of products through qr codes. Farzati Tech and Enismaro, both startups from Campania and already winners of various innovation awards, represent a growing sector that makes agri-tech an increasingly useful solution for Italian producers. In order to counteract "Italian sounding", monitor food contamination, support environmental sustainability through the promotion of truly short-chain and organic products and even through the calculation of CO 2 emissions in production processes.

Traceability and story: qr code and labels talk about food Knowing everything about a food product, from how it was born to how it arrived on our table, passing through the description of the company that produced it. "We go to the field: for example, we check the type of milk that is used for that pecorino or that the processing of the olives respects what the label of an extra virgin olive oil promises, so that the consumer who chooses a product on the shelf knows everything about that product ". These are the words of Giorgio Ciardella, technology manager of Farzati Tech released to

Already the fact that a company that works with agricultural businesses chooses the technological director to talk to the press and investors shows how economic activities related to the primary sector are increasingly invested by technological innovation. Which can make a difference, for the benefit of producers, consumers and of course tech entrepreneurs. Like those who lead Enismaro and Farzati Tech, two of the 40 companies chosen to represent made in Italy innovation that met in London last May for Smau Italia RestartsUp, the event dedicated to innovation in Italy organized in collaboration with Ice, the Foreign Trade Agency. met them to be told which high-tech tools they use - and will use more and more - farmers and breeders, but also woodcutters and all those who have to do with the production of raw materials to certify their quality.

“We give certain traceability to products from the organic world such as food or wood: we transform everything that comes from the real world into digital and bring it into a traceability and control system in the supply chain. We have proprietary, patented technologies that make it possible to acquire organic matrices such as olive oil and milk from the real world, guaranteeing traceability of origin in the field. And we combine digital tools with traditional tools such as quality certificates issued by certification bodies: through our technology we therefore guarantee a certain origin, also giving it legal value "

Ciardella talks about Farzati Tech's technology, which fact allows the consumer to know if what a product promises is true. But the advantages are clearly also for producers: for those who are honest, who want to enhance their quality, and for those who deal with processing: "We start from the origin , from the raw material: we take the oil, the producer who makes the blend or extra virgin olive oil makes sure that what is coming from the tanker is what he ordered at the panel test. In a few seconds we can therefore verify the certain origin . From that moment on, a traceability process starts that reaches the final consumer who can verify the origin of the product on the label: through a qr code, rather c he of an intelligent cap, manages to make the opposite path to the origin of the material ".

It is therefore a process to support sustainability in the agro-food chain, since it rewards products that are truly zero-kilometer or organic. The technological application also becomes a communication tool because Farzati Tech inserts a real 'talking label' in the qr code, which provides all the nutritional and nutraceutical information on the element, the methods of conservation or to cook a food, and finally the storytelling of the specific product and of the company that made it.

A technological antidote against Italian sounding Saying made in Italy today does not exclude that the agri-food product has also been largely made abroad . The well-known definition of our products is actually a guarantee of minimum protection against Italian sounding, the attempt at counterfeiting that deceives foreign consumers about the real origin of the products and which is estimated to damage up to 20% of national exports. Ciardella says that "from Made in Italy we have coined a new expression which is Born in Italy: the difference is substantial.

Today the made in Italy is made by guaranteeing only 33% of the manufacturing transformation. Born in Italy I guarantee a totally Italian supply chain. Ironically, you can make a product totally in Italy and then the packaging is bought in China: who assures me that this step does not interfere with the quality of the product? "

Farzati Tech uses the blockchain to guarantee both the traceability of the origin of the territoriality of the product (Dop, Igp, etc.) rather than the nationality, and in this case the Italian character of the product. “The blockchain does not enter into the merits of the content: if the declaration is false at the source, it remains so. We have taken a step back, so before getting to the blockchain we create a system that guarantees the origin of the product. By combining molecular sensors based on scientific principles of chemical-physics, artificial intelligence and then the blockchain we are able to safely distribute the final product to the various stakeholders that make up the supply chain ".

According to Ciardella, this complex process is similar to that of a food fingerprint, which, like the human fingerprint, allows us to recognize the matrix of the life cycle of a product. Farzati Tech has named it Food Passport, a tool that is based on the unique and unequivocal determination of elements of organic matrix through three steps. It starts with a tool that acquires information about the origin, type and character of the product through a physico-chemical sampling process without chemicals that interfere with the product. Then another Farzati digital tool creates a digital bio-imprint of the organic element as a unique identifier and stores them in a database.

Finally, a third tool stores the bio-imprint and all information relating to the product, storing and tracking them securely through the use of the blockchain. A result that the Campania company has achieved through its research and development department that collaborates with the departments of the University of Naples and Salerno. As evidence of how the Italian start-ups that bring digital technologies to support farmers, breeders and all operators linked to the production of raw materials are linked to the innovative scope of research.

Using blockchain to create smart contracts Farzati Tech's path is similar, also in terms of geographic origin, to that of Enismaro. The latter is a company that, as its website tells us, “was born in a small town in the south of Italy, where in a small field we produce olive oil for our family”. Enismaro is in fact the acronym of Isabella, Marco, Ennio, Rossella, "the initials of the names of our family" explains Isabella D'Addeo, co-founder of Enismaro, whom met in the London appointment of Smau together with brother Marco, CEO of the company. The latter lives in London, after having lived for several years in Vienna, while Isabella in France, after a period in Portugal. Young and projected into an international dimension, with the prospect of serving big players of the great organized distribution. Also for this reason the company takes great care of the communicative aspects:

"It is normal that a communicative approach is important - explains Isabella - because the complex aspects of technology must reach the producers, who do not always have these skills, and then to consumers, to whom everything concerning an important element such as food must be clear ".

From a technical point of view, Enismaro offers a technical solution which has many aspects in common with that of Farzati Tech: “End-to-end food traceability software. We mainly use two technologies: Iot sensors and blockchain. In practice, we record all the steps of a production process through the blockchain, thus making them guaranteed and immutable. We therefore act as a quality certification body for food ”, continues the co-founder. Enismaro also uses the qr code to allow the consumer to evaluate the quality of the product. And it adopts a particular way to give relevance to certification: smart contracts, as Marco D'Addeo explains:

"They are real contracts registered on the blockchain, therefore with legal value, for which a specific product or certain production process must maintain a certain condition or parameter that is established by both parties ".

Let's think for example of the cold chain, which must be maintained during transport for some products. Through sensors and GPS, Enismaro guarantees that this type of chain has been respected in transport. “So our added value is not only in the use of the blockchain, but also in the way the technology is used. We therefore make a leverage on the process, on the technology, in such a way as to eliminate the information gap between the same actors in the supply chain ”.

Mapping CO 2 in food production Enismaro as Farzati Tech pays great attention to research: "We also collaborate with biotechnology companies that carry out molecular analyzes on products, when our sensors eventually fail to reach", explains the 'to. Which does not hide the difficulty of dealing with agricultural realities, "where the word 'technology' is often viewed with skepticism. To give an example, let's think of the campaign notebook which is a legal requirement that all companies must respect: even today this is still hand-made in 90% of cases. We offer to make it digitally, and therefore save a lot of time, but even starting from such a simple element we notice reticence to use a software, which we have tried to make simple: as simple as possible ".

Perhaps also for this reason, the start-up has chosen to develop other elements of direct interest to producers, who are increasingly careful to show their closeness to the principles of sustainable development. So it has adopted an additional tool in the control process of the products it manages: a CO 2 emissions meter. In summary, Enismaro's tool allows you to calculate and highlight the neutralized carbon dioxide emissions for each product during the process, and then communicate all the environmental and sustainability results obtained. A stimulus for agri-food companies that want to highlight their sustainability characteristics to use the software of the Campania start-up. Also from a prescriptive point of view, given that thanks to the partnership with a company specialized in CO 2 compensation, Enismaro tools suggest how to take more sustainable actions.

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