`California Olive Ranch Promotes Traceability with New Smart Labels - Olive Oil Times

California Olive Ranch Promotes Traceability with New Smart Labels

By Daniel Dawson
Apr. 25, 2022 11:58 UTC

The largest olive oil pro­ducer in the United States has intro­duced a new smart label on its two flag­ship brands.

California Olive Ranch has added a quick response (QR) code to its labels on the Global Blend and 100% California brands.

Michael Fox, the company’s chief exec­u­tive, told Olive Oil Times the new smart labels would enable curi­ous cus­tomers to learn more about where the olives were grown, when they were har­vested, the oil’s chem­i­cal pro­file, its fla­vors and other infor­ma­tion about the har­vest and health ben­e­fits.

We wanted to think about new ways for peo­ple who were inter­ested to under­stand more about their olive oil,” he said.

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Fox believes that the smart labels will help inform cus­tomers about what sets extra vir­gin olive oil apart from the other grades and hope­fully drive more cus­tomers to the prod­uct.

It’s the num­ber one dri­ver of pur­chase intent,” he said. Most peo­ple who are brought into the cat­e­gory, it’s because of the health ben­e­fits of the olive oil.”

Along with edu­cat­ing con­sumers about these health ben­e­fits, Fox argued that the new smart label was a prac­ti­cal step to pro­mote the company’s trans­parency.

We change our blends based on the sea­sons as we get new oil,” he said. Changing our label mul­ti­ple times each year was­n’t a real­is­tic idea, but doing a smart label allows you to see where the olives are grown all the way down to the lot code.”

This will grow and evolve and will even­tu­ally fea­ture some of our grower part­ners, par­tic­u­larly in California,” he added.


Photo: California Olive Ranch

Fox believes that these labels should be more widely adopted in the indus­try, includ­ing by other U.S. pro­duc­ers and imported olive oil blends, some of which are made with olives sourced world­wide.

According to Joseph R. Profaci, the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the North American Olive Oil Association, a trade asso­ci­a­tion, some major importers already use QR codes backed with blockchain.

The tech­nol­ogy that under­pins cryp­tocur­ren­cies and other dig­i­tal assets is a decen­tral­ized dig­i­tal ledger that records trans­ac­tions onto blocks.” Since the blocks” are stored on mul­ti­ple com­put­ers, they can­not be altered after the fact, mak­ing trace­abil­ity eas­ier to estab­lish.

Traceability is impor­tant to some con­sumers, so it seems blockchain or third-party cer­ti­fi­ca­tion would be the gold stan­dard,” Profaci told Olive Oil Times.

However, there are chal­lenges asso­ci­ated with estab­lish­ing trace­abil­ity cer­ti­fi­ca­tions on the blockchain. Fox said the QR codes on California Olive Ranch prod­ucts link to the company’s inter­nal sys­tem and are not attached to a blockchain.

Our part­ners don’t have the capa­bil­ity of hav­ing blockchain set up within their sys­tems yet,” Fox said. We did inves­ti­gate blockchain, and we found that was going to be a hur­dle given some of our part­ners and their tech­nol­ogy.”

Profaci said he has no data on the sub­ject but per­son­ally thinks the effec­tive­ness of trace­abil­ity depends on the cer­tainty pro­vided by blockchain ver­i­fi­ca­tion.

If the idea is to assure con­sumers who are inter­ested in trace­abil­ity because they have been told they should be dis­trust­ful of com­pa­nies that source glob­ally, I would have to believe that blockchain or third-party cer­ti­fi­ca­tion would be more effec­tive than self-dec­la­ra­tions of ori­gin,” he con­cluded.


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