The app, one of the five winners of the 2015 “Green Oscar,” the award of Coldiretti Young Entrepreneurs for innovative ideas in agriculture, was conceived and developed by Pietro Barachini and Dario Bronchi and is currently looking for sponsors.
Barachini, an experienced agronomist who manages a farm that sells olive trees in Tuscany and recently became a professional olive oil taster, founded the startup with Bronchi, a computer engineer.
“We have digitized the IOC profile sheet for the assessment of olive oil, which is used in 44 countries to certify extra virginity,” Barachini explained to Olive Oil Times. “Using our digitized platform, tasters can put their own fingerprints on each olive oil profile, ensuring transparency and safety.”
After the tasting, the taster presses a button on a tablet to send the evaluation that is irreversible, while data are stored in real time on multiple servers to ensure their protection.
“This certification process of olive oil can be useful both for the consumer, to have a guarantee of authenticity of product, and for producers to provide absolutely clear data about their products. Moreover, control bodies can easily contrast possible frauds or counterfeiting with a drastic reduction of management costs,” he added.
The result of the project is an electronic guide of extra virgin olive oils. 150 farmers from Tuscany have already joined the project, which is based on a QR code tracking system.
“Each extra virgin olive oil has a QR code, first used by tasters during the assessment, then made available in the guide to consumers to obtain information about organoleptic profiles and other characteristics and, if they want, to buy the product throughout an integrated e-commerce platform,” Barachini explained.
“Many small producers are unable to sell their EVOOs, beaten by the competition of big companies. With iOlive we wanted to give visibility and support to quality productions,” Barachini said.
“Nowadays only chemical tests are digitally certified and protected. iOlive offers the possibility to digitize and keep safe the sensory analysis, which is still the most significant test.”
The project has been tested by Agro-Lab, the laboratory arm of PromoFirenze, an agency of the Florence Chamber of Commerce. The margin of error was reported to be reduced by 15 percent using the app, “a percentage that can make the difference from extra virgin to virgin, and we know how this discrepancy can have a huge economic impact,” the two entrepreneurs explained.
During the recent harvest months in Italy about 40 tasting centers handle about 300 samples, and for each sample at least 8 assessment sheets are required. The iOlive tool solves the practical issues due to the amount of paper needed — a move toward a sustainable approach that also reduces data processing time.
“It is essential for small producers that we use an objective and transparent method to show the real profile of their EVOO and make the operations of supply chain clear to consumers, which deserve quality at the right price,” Barachini concluded.