Feb 27 2023

Using blockchain technology to certify extra virgin olive oil from traditional olive groves

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is one of the most important agricultural products of the Spanish agri-food sector, a pillar of the Mediterranean Diet and of our country's food culture.

Spain is a world leader in surface area, production and foreign trade thanks to our country's olive-growing tradition and a technologically advanced and professional industry capable of obtaining high quality oils. Spanish olive oil production accounts for more than 2.6 million hectares and an average production in the last ten years of 1.3 million tons of oil, which represents about 70% of EU production and 45% of world production.

For consumers, it is usually difficult to recognize the origin of extra virgin olive oil compared to oils produced under production conditions other than traditional olive groves. In order to bring transparency and value to the EVOO production chain, the Traditional EVOO Operational Group was created, making use of the latest innovative technologies (blockchain) to enhance transparency through the supply chain. This group is carried out by the Unión de Pequeños Agricultores y Ganaderos (UPA), with Grupo Migasa and Wealize as partners. In addition, the University of Jaén will participate as a subcontracted member, while LIDL will be a collaborating member of the project.

Among the main actions of the project is the creation of a blockchain tool that will offer the consumer confidence in a product of the highest quality, produced in traditional olive groves and farms with economic advice and environmental sustainability. The idea aims to provide technological innovation (with the implementation of an innovative process through blockchain), commercial innovation (betting on a different positioning of the product) and social innovation (aimed at a sector at serious risk of exclusion, such as the traditional olive grove).

Thanks to the project, it will be easier to differentiate extra virgin olive oil from traditional olive grove farms, promoting the digitalization of traceability in the commercialization of the product and improving the economic results of the farms, while favoring generational replacement, the creation or maintenance of companies, and assisted and shared cultivation. It will also seek to improve the environmental sustainability of traditional olive grove farms.