Breeders, producers, processors, representatives from retail, logistics, ICT and consumers participated in the implementation workshop of FAIRCHAIN’s Greek case study. The Feta cheese process has been demonstrated and discussed with the participants using the pilot system. Liaison with the H2020 PROTEIN project has also been established.
By Andreas Papadakis, SYNELIXIS
Local dairy production can have competitive advantages, including the use of locally produced milk, compliance with traditional processing methods resulting in richer taste, maintenance of nutritional value, and possibilities of customized products. Such intermediate food chains are typically characterized by more active human involvement, and the potential for transparency in the role of the stakeholders. Challenges also exist, related to the limits of economy of scale, the dependence on local production and conditions, and the difficulties in ‘proving’ the competitive advantages to increasingly demanding customers. The last challenge is the rationale of the Greek Case Study of the FAIRCHAIN project.
SYNELIXIS, a high-tech SME providing innovative ICT solutions and platforms in smart agriculture (SynField) and other areas, and STYMFALIA a local dairy producer with established products offered in Greece and abroad, will employ the Ethereum Blockchain technology to capture operational information to ‘vouch for’ the competitive advantages of local dairy production. This information will be offered to consumers and other interested stakeholders in a trustworthy manner.
The case study involves the production of Feta cheese, a well-known Greek product of protected origin, defined by the national legislation framework and offered locally and abroad, as well as a special type of sheep-milk yoghurt. The (infrequent) cases of fraudulent feta cheese production, identified nationally and abroad, reinforce the need for trustworthiness.
The two partners are carefully analysing milk collection and cheese processing operations to capture data related to high-level characteristics appreciated by consumers. Blockchain, a technology being piloted in the food industry, presents a set of challenges including the need for near real-time data extraction and processing, the need to rationalize the level of data fine-graining, the inevitable overhead upon internal dairy processes and the presentation of the info to consumers in a meaningful and comprehensive manner. The Case Study already had a successful goal-creation workshop, in June 2021, validating the need for such a solution and providing insight for adaptation and improvement of the requirements and the specifications.
Participants representing consumers, dairy production and processing, retail and ICT involving blockchain, smart agriculture, IoT experts and solution designers were part of the discussion aimed at defining goals for the Greek case study. They addressed consumer demand for more food transparency, key product characteristics in intermediate food chains and challenges in using blockchain technology, including costs.