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How one startup is tackling fake tuna and wine using blockchain

From Tim Tams and Vegemite to yellowfin tuna and Barossa reds, Australia is known worldwide and celebrated for some very specific and iconic produce.

These exports, however, are impacted by the growing issue of wine and food fraud, now a $3 billion industry in Australia.

It is estimated, 20 per cent of wines worldwide are fake and in the seafood industry, snapper and tuna, are the most defrauded varieties, creating knock-on implications for Australian brand trust.

One startup, based in the Startup Hub at Lot Fourteen, is tackling this problem head-on using the most advanced technology to track and trace produce from farmer to consumer.

The masterminds behind eBottli use a suite of tracking and blockchain data technologies, IoT and geolocating services to track and trace some of the country’s most iconic exports.

The team, headed up by chief executive officer, Dr Nathalie Taquet, is kicking goals by expanding into new markets and working towards its next capital raise. The startup’s culture is firmly anchored in Taquet’s industry expertise and highly entrepreneurial mindset.

Dr Nathalie Taquet, Founder & CEO of eBottli, at Stone & Chalk Adelaide

With a PhD in Biochemistry, an Executive MBA and twenty years working in executive and non-executive roles for big-pharma, pivoting is a key part of her, and eBottli’s, core value set.

Taquet has moved from France, shifted into food traceability and as the pandemic hit, alongside a decline in Australian wine exports to China, deftly pivoted their world-class technology to include food produce, such as tuna and beef.

Screen captures of eBottli customer user interface

How it works

The tech, developed with the support of the South Australian Government, helps guarantee produce authenticity, addressing the issue of brand trust for Australian exports – a huge issue in markets such as Asia.

Taquet is rigorous in visiting food and beverage producers across the country to understand intimately how their processes work.

She says that integrating eBottli’s tech, can be a game changer, especially for small farming-based operations who may still be manually inputting data, sometimes even on land or at sea.

“Teaching our clients how to use smart technologies is where we add value.”

However, she adds, “above all, our business is a human adventure where we get to meet incredible producers, exchange ideas and brainstorm more efficient ways of working.”

“At eBottli, we provide solutions to improve your business with a particular focus on customer experienceefficiency and traceability.”

From $200 a month to track and trace all produce, its customers see significant and cost-effective advantages.

Tags are placed on produce, under labels or even under corks, with consumers able to quickly scan their product to find tasting notes, origin, sustainability credentials and which farm it originates from, for example.

 

Other advantages to tracing produce

Demands from across the supply chain, including the end consumer, are increasing the need for this type of agtech and the data it holds and produces.

For example, fertiliser and pesticide compliance levels can mean grapes are accepted or rejected by wine makers. The tech in this space not only automates the tagging of products with data, but the data is also easily accessible across the supply chain.

Supporting sustainability demands, is another benefit offered via traceability.

In order to show a consumer that an ingredient was grown sustainably, there needs to be traceability through all steps of the process, from a farmer planting and harvesting crops to the finished product on the shelf.

Research shows that 60 per cent of consumers want information which shows how fresh the product is, while 54 per cent want information around its safety.

Any contamination, such as salmonella, can also be tracked via eBottli, with batches of products identified quickly and enabling any holds to be put on supply chains if there are serious product health implications.

 

And the future…

While Taquet spends the majority of her time with clients and refining and tailoring the technology with eBottli’s tech team, she’s making the most of their innovation district base At Lot Fourteen by collaborating with other businesses, specifically in agtech, including Platfarm.

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