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Aiming for the most transparent milk production in the world
Arla’s newest product, the Single Estate Organic Milk, is the first dairy product in the world to have its production chain saved into a blockchain. Arla’s blockchain is called the Arla Milkchain, and as a pilot project it’s the only one of its kind within the dairy industry.
Food manufacturers are expected to be responsible, traceable and transparent in their practices. A 2017 study conducted by the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry together with IRO Research found that Finnish consumers are concerned with whether their food is produced naturally, domestically, locally and responsibly. Out of the respondents, 70% had found information regarding the food’s origin on the label and only 23% on the manufacturer’s website. Moreover, in a 2018 study into food trends by Taloustutkimus, 67% of the respondents wished that Finnish foodstuffs could be tracked all the way to the farm they came from.
We want to build the most transparent and responsible production chain in the world.
- Sanna Heikfolk, Brand & Category Manager
Forging ahead with an open mind
Finns are used to food being safe and the labels on the package being reliable. Transparently documenting the production process into a blockchain takes this trust to a whole new level as information on each step is made available to the consumer. The Arla Milkchain is an answer to the consumer base’s growing need for detailed information on the origin and production chain of their food. Blockchain technology allows Arla Finland to provide an overview of the milk’s journey from farm to dairy. Adopting new technology with an open mind, creatively challenging and developing traditional business models and promoting responsibility are the foundations on which Arla aims to build the most transparent milk production process in the world.
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain operates similarly as bookkeeping or a database, in which events are entered into blocks. New data is verified using an algorithm that has been programmed in the blockchain and saved to a new block if the old block is full, which is then linked to the previous block. This results in a group of data blocks that have been chronologically linked together. The blockchain can be either public or private.
Due to its features, the blockchain is transparent and safe, since old data cannot be falsified afterwards and all events in the chain can be verified at any time. Strong information security, auditing possibility as well as the secure storing of value, authenticity and ownership are therefore built-in features of the blockchain.
Guaranteed quality from Kurikka and Hämeelinna
The first product to utilise the Arla Milkchain is the Single Estate Organic Milk, which is produced using raw material from the Tikka organic farm in Kurikka. The Tikka farm has produced milk for decades, and they are excited about the opportunity to show consumers how modern milk production works. “The clients’ trust is built on a combination of factors: the wellbeing of the cows is naturally the starting point, but understanding the origin and journey of the product is also important. It’s also natural for people to want to know who works on the product”, says Tikka farm member Tuomo Mäkinen.
The Single Estate Organic Milk is processed in the Hämeenlinna Cooperative Dairy with a history reaching all the way back to 1871. The 80 people working at the dairy have long and extensive experience in refining and developing dairy products. The organic products are produced using Finnish biogas.
Focus on the customer needs
Thanks to the data collected and the understanding garnered from it, consumers will be able to enjoy fresher produce, less wasted food and products that are better tailored to their needs in the future. “This entire development project got its start from people’s wishes. It is important for consumers that their food and drink be produced responsibly and transparently. The Arla Milkchain has already taught us a great deal for the future, but the journey has just begun. We want to build the most transparent and responsible production chain in the world”, says Brand and Category Manager Sanna Heikfolk.