TECHONEY’s main objective is to identify strategies and establish lines of resilience to the new challenges determined by the COVID-19 pandemic for beekeepers in the Mediterranean (Med) agricultural systems through the implementation, definition, enhancement and transfer of competitive, profitable, efficient and trustful honey supply-chain alternatives that address beekeepers’ capacities and attractiveness to fulfil consumer needs on unexpected food market changes.

The project develops a traceability system to guarantee the quality and safety of honey within the supply chain for more effective communication to consumers and to strengthen access to different markets (e-commerce, direct sales, etc.).

TECHONEY is structured in four main technological pillars:

1) creation of a consortium IoT blockchain platform that involves various actors in the honey supply chain to ensure transparency and traceability, in addition to reducing costs and ensure the traceability in the honey supply chain;

2) creation of a transformative learning community to ensure a smart-short-resilient shared supply chain;

3) characterization of the quality of honey to guarantee its traceability within the blockchain directly by consumers;

4) develop ICT tools for honey supply chain participants and consumers.

The project designs and develops a multidimensional framework to analyse six full honey supply chains (farm to table) that integrates economic, social and environmental indicators, and a traceability system, with a bottom-up approach considering the stakeholders´ perspectives.

The participatory approach of the project is based on the creation of a Honey Innovation and Learning Ecosystem (HILE) living-lab (LL) that will be the arena to collect information from the honey sector and consumers and to transfer and apply the new optimized models.

Work Packages

Leader: CREDA, co-leader: INAT, participants: CITA, UNOR, ENAM, UMMTO, LIST.

The WP1 creates stakeholders mapping of the decision-makers and potential end-users to determine the course of action and the adoption of innovation/solution. It also identifies possible control nodes, which will be under the responsibility of an accredited authority in the blockchain systems in WP3. Likewise, we identify all the current honey supply chains in each country, map all the stakeholders involved, analyse the price strategy (price formation, transmission, volatility and capacity to adapt) and benchmark the added-value alternatives and business potential opportunities (using quantitative and qualitative approaches). The HILE is consulted through participatory focus groups using the World Café Technique in each country to identify problems, barriers, opportunities and solutions related to each product value chain. TECHONEY will use a co-creation strategy, which consists of combining qualitative and quantitative research that involves all possible actors of the honey value chain, as well as interactions with scientific and societies’ organizations.

Leader: ENAM, co-leader: SAPIENZA, UMMTO, participation: UNSO, NSA, INAT, UNOR, CITA.

To create the information (e.g., quality certification data) and include it in the blockchain network, we need to characterize the quality of honey by conducting physio-chemical and melisso-palinological analyses in each participating country through certified laboratories. We will conduct chemical analysis of selected honey in each country and evaluate the quality through a high-performance chromatography of sugar profiles. The analysis will be carried according to official methods of analysis and in-house validated methods. Safety analysis regarding the food safety aspects of honey will also be conducted. This task will monitor the content of selected contaminants and adulteration in a wide selection of commercial honey and provide a map of functional properties of local honey varieties. Finally, honeys’ mixtures with enhanced antimicrobial properties will be studied.

Leader: CITA, co-leader: INAT, participations: UNINA.

Consumers’ behaviour to identify the critical factors affecting the acceptance of added value local honey with traceability systems from short food supply chains will be studied. This WP engages consumers in the development process to implement honey quality parameters and create a labelling system to communicate local honey between local distributors and consumers more efficiently. According to the results from WP1 and WP2, experimental studies of the selected honey from the certified laboratories, including consumer surveys, sensory analysis, and non-hypothetical experiments to measure actual purchase habits, sensory preferences, and identify the most preferred trade-off honey attributes for the consumers of each case country will be conducted. Additionally, we will examine consumer’s acceptance of IC tools such as mobile technology application, to understand the features that stimulate the use of earlier adopters (consumer, beekeepers and retailers). Surveys and in-depth interviews will be implemented to investigate stakeholders’ acceptance where we also will investigate organized supply chain in terms of possible reduction of honey residues, re-use of packaging and cutting transportation costs alternatives will be provided to easily adapt to the new challenges of a sustainable honey chain.

Leader: LIGM, co-leader: NSA, JASSP-SAS and UTM, LIST collaborations: all partecipants and collaborations with all partners of other WPs.

The blockchain platform oversees authentication, validation, management and storage of traceable data related to honey production/transportation/consumption through smart contracts. A smart contract is an automated and secure computer program, deployed in the blockchain that guarantees the performance of contractual obligations without requiring a centralized legal authority during the execution of the contract. IoT devices will be deployed along the honey chain from producers to consumers to monitor and track the status of honey and its environement as it moves through the supply chain and share this information to the blockchain. In this WP the specification and the design of the blockchain and ICT tools will be carried out in close collaboration with all project partners involved in other WPs. In this project, we will use a consortium blockchain to control the network through a limited number of control nodes (beekeepers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers). Each control node is under the responsibility of an accredited authority. Thanks to a network operational management in the event of non-integrity of honey data, it is possible to intervene by exchanging data (e.g., the physical-chemical analyses of honey related to food safety and commercial quality and by crosschecking all the operators). With this procedure, every action of each operator will be documented, made public, and will be known to all the participants. We will develop and implement the distributed blockchain system. We will also develop two smartphone applications. The first is in charge of the certified registration of traceability data in the blockchain. The second is for the honey end consumers. It permits to consult the honey traceability in the blockchain. This blockchain traceability system will be integrated into the “Multichannel distribution” e-commerce platform and will allow honey producers to access direct sales markets and new markets based on short supply chain.

Leader: UTM, co-leader: CITA, CREDA, JASSP, participations: all partners.

Blockchain systems, “Multichannel distribution” e-commerce platforms with mobile technology will be developed and deployed in a study with a sample of local beekeepers, retailers, and consumers to evaluate its functionality. WP5 will contribute importantly to the scale-up and further demonstration and piloting of the outcomes from WPs 1, 2, 3 and 4. The proposed solution/s tested at small-scale will be scaled-up and demonstrated at large-scale to trigger behavioural change and new ways of decision-making while accounting for local and regional contexts. Moreover, new business models and governance innovations will be explored/proposed in order improve the procedures and increase the competitiveness of beekeepers. Thus, multidisciplinary approaches that integrate technological, digital, business, governance, environmental dimensions with social innovation will be needed/explored to develop pathways and support the involved communities. Scaling strategies will be defined and implemented in each case-country considering local contexts. A common framework will be designed looking into possibilities to scale in actors, location, business volumes and funding. Effective organizational and business models, replicable in each case country will be studied to foster uptake the production of business solutions able to meet the needs of local communities and the opportunities of the Med. values, heritage and biodiversity. The consortium blockchain developed in WP4 as well as the functionnel elements will be extended to support and control the business logic of the business model. The application associated to beekeeper seeling their honey will be extended to implement the developed mechanism for the processing of e-commerce transactions in a secure and traceable manner. This Multichannel distribution ”e-commerce” platform will contribute to broaden honey producers sales markets and opens up new markets based on short supply chain as well.

Leader: JASSP SAS, co/leaders: CITA.

The objective is to maximise the project impact amongst all the food chain stakeholders in the Med. region. WP6 will define commercial interest in the blockchain IT tool and develop relations with stakeholders to create new cross-sector interconnections and value chains alternatives. Knowledge gained during TECHONEY would enable the replication of living labs into other food products and supply chains, countries, or sectors to continue feeding the ICT tool and making it more resourceful. To boost the project impact and the outputs of the exploitation plan.

Leader: UMMTO, participation: all partners

WP7 will generate several dissemination and communication actions, including the definition of a communications plan, website, press release, webinars, newsletters, scientific papers and congress participations, leaflets, social media presence, workshops, training actions and focus groups.

Leader: CITA

WP8 will implement an effective management organization with a clear decision-making structure. It will consider legal, contractual, ethical, financial, data, quality, risk, gender and administrative issues for optimal performance.