`Smart Labels on Display at Italian Food Show - Olive Oil Times

Smart Labels on Display at Italian Food Show

By Paolo DeAndreis
May. 15, 2023 14:17 UTC

A solu­tion that cou­ples tech­nol­ogy with trans­parency in olive oil com­mer­cial­iza­tion is among the big win­ners at the lat­est Tuttofood event, one of Italy’s most promi­nent food expo­si­tions.

The award comes on the heels of Italian pro­duc­ers’ increas­ingly wide­spread adop­tion of olive oil trace­abil­ity sys­tems.

Producer Pietro Coricelli was awarded at Tuttofood for its track­ing sys­tem, which com­bines QR codes printed on olive oil labels and blockchain tech­nol­ogy.

See Also:Researchers Use AI to Identify EVOO Provenance

By scan­ning the QR code with their smart­phones, con­sumers can access infor­ma­tion about the bottle’s con­tents, includ­ing the results of the phys­io­chem­i­cal analy­sis, the com­pany that did the analy­sis, the results of the panel test and even­tu­ally, other panel test out­comes.

The legit­i­macy of the infor­ma­tion is con­firmed using the blockchain tech­nol­ogy of an exter­nal sup­plier, which allows con­sumers to track the whole pro­duc­tion process, from olive har­vest to olive oil sales.

On the blockchain, data about every process step are encrypted and time-stamped and, there­fore, can­not be mod­i­fied.

At the same food event, Oleificio Zucchi, a large pro­ducer, show­cased the deploy­ment of its QR code track­ing sys­tem on many of its extra vir­gin olive oils.

By scan­ning the code on a bottle’s label, con­sumers are directed to infor­ma­tion about the bottle’s sus­tain­able pack­ag­ing and con­tents, such as the coun­try and region of ori­gin of the olives used to pro­duce olive oil, the olive vari­eties and their char­ac­ter­is­tics.

QR code and track­ing tech­nolo­gies are increas­ingly pop­u­lar among Italian pro­duc­ers and have been adopted by the Olio Toscano Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) con­sor­tium.

All olive oils cer­ti­fied by the Toscano PGI con­sor­tium come with a paper col­lar con­tain­ing a unique code for each bot­tle,” Alberto Morettini, com­mer­cial and mar­ket­ing direc­tor of Frantoio di San Giminano in Tuscany, told Olive Oil Times.

This solu­tion allows the con­sumer to trace, through a web plat­form, the his­tory of the whole prod­uct,” he added. In par­tic­u­lar, the trace­abil­ity of the prod­uct, which starts from the olive grove and ends with bot­tling, also pass­ing through the infor­ma­tion about olive milling, of course.”

Frantoio di San Giminiano pro­duced about 50,000 kilo­grams of Toscano PGI extra vir­gin olive oil last year. It is a truly good pro­duc­tion vol­ume, given the pro­duc­t’s very high qual­ity,” Morettini said.

Besides the unique organolep­tic qual­i­ties of the extra vir­gin olive oil, exported to every con­ti­nent, Morettini believes that track­ing tech­nol­ogy also plays a role in win­ning con­sumers’ atten­tion.

Its refined pack­ag­ing and the trace­abil­ity of the prod­uct chain guar­an­teed by the con­sor­tium, with­out a doubt, make [Toscano PGI] one of the finest olive oils in the world,” he added.

According to the Toscano PGI con­sor­tium, the track­ing code applied on every sin­gle bot­tle lets the con­sumer know which olive grow­ers were involved in the pro­duc­tion, who milled the olives and bot­tled the oil.

Our label guar­an­tees to the con­sumer that every bot­tle of Toscano PGI extra vir­gin olive is 100 per­cent authen­tic,” the con­sor­tium said.


A unique code on the label iden­ti­fy­ing each bot­tle is also required for all cer­ti­fied extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duced in the south­ern Tuscan region of Mount Amiata.

According to the regional author­i­ties, these ini­tia­tives are cru­cial to rais­ing con­sumers’ aware­ness about many Tuscan agri-food prod­ucts of excel­lence.

The need to raise con­sumer aware­ness about olive oil qual­ity and increase trust in high-qual­ity pro­duc­tion is also the focus of a QR code-based trace­abil­ity project under devel­op­ment in Puglia, Italy’s largest olive oil-pro­duc­ing region.

The Certo (“Trustworthy,” in Italian) project, funded by the regional gov­ern­ment, focuses on the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the local olive oil pro­duc­tion areas. The goal is to improve the trans­parency of local olive oil Protected Designation of Origin cer­ti­fi­ca­tions.

It involves the deploy­ment of authen­tic­ity analy­ses con­ducted by nuclear mag­netic res­o­nance and near-infrared spec­troscopy, which allow users to map the metabolomic pro­files of the local olives.

The infor­ma­tion on the ori­gin and qual­ity of the olives and olive oil will then be trans­ferred to the con­sumers using a QR code on the label.

While the impact of the new plat­form on con­sumer behav­ior remains unclear, Italian author­i­ties empha­sized how back-office plat­forms counter fraud and cer­tify quan­ti­ties and qual­i­ties.

All pro­duc­ers that intend to bot­tle and label their olive oil for sale… must keep in mind that such activ­i­ties, and even the sole label­ing of the prod­uct, trig­gers the National Olive Oil Digital Registry,” Roberta Capecci and Roberto Ciancio, offi­cials at the Italian cen­tral inspec­torate of qual­ity pro­tec­tion and fraud pre­ven­tion of agri-food prod­ucts (ICQRF), told Olive Oil Times.

Capecci and Ciancio added that the reg­istry is a tool adopted on a national level to allow a timely con­trol of olive oil flows han­dled by the indi­vid­ual oper­a­tors of the olive oil pro­duc­tion chain.”

The reg­istry requires oper­a­tors to make com­pul­sory entries for each pro­duc­tion batch, quan­ti­ties stored and move­ment and pro­cess­ing of olives, olive pomace and olive oil. All of this is with no regard if the pro­duc­t’s final des­ti­na­tion is the domes­tic or the inter­na­tional mar­ket.

It allows the timely remote mon­i­tor­ing of any move­ment from every mill and ware­house located in Italy, and it allows con­trol­ling author­i­ties to eas­ily access the names and the addresses of the sub­jects, national or for­eign, involved in the han­dling,” Capecci and Ciancio con­cluded.


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