Vee Mee, a Croatian company based in Zagreb, is contributing to the traceability of food production with a mobile application (app).
As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of September, 2019, ”Letting our kids know what they’re eating” was the guiding principle behind the development of VeeMee, a Croatian digital platform in the agricultural and commercial sector that, in just a few clicks on a smartphone, gives consumers complete transparency about the origin of the products they’re buying.
A large number of Croatia’s residents usually fill their fridges with fresh fruit and vegetables from local markets, with greater confidence that they will find local produce here. But occasionally there are some imported products,, which we cannot know about unless we peek under the table to check what is written on the boxes where the groceries came from. However, one Croatian company has made sure that with the use of the swipe of a finger alone, people are able to check the origin of the products they buy.
The founder of the idea is the Croatian company VeeMee, whose co-founder and CEO, Marko Kozjak, explains that the platform is a specialised search engine for the agro-economic sector, which links complete chains of stores, contributes to the transparency of sales in food stores, and enhances consumer loyalty and security.
The platform contains the so-called PID profile (producer/profile identity) or “producer identity” profile that serves to standardise relevant information about the grower and the crops they grow. By scanning the QR code on the product, Kozjak explains, the consumer quickly obtains complete information about the farmer and the food they’re buying and consuming. All data on the platform is standardised and transparent to all users.
“PID is the identity of the manufacturer clearly defined by the standard we set, that is, the relevance of the data to everyone in the store chain. The primary data was collected from the manufacturers who then verified it through our mobile app, or by using the VeeMee search engine,” Kozjak explains. He has been working on the idea since back in 2010, and the methodology and processes developed were merged in 2017 with the founding of VeeMee.
“With our standardised traceability, more than 1,500 tonnes of food from three EU countries have been marketed. Over 250 tonnes of food has been rescued and over 1,100 tonnes of smart logistics have been completed. The data says that a transparent system specialised in the food sector is needed in the European Union and in the world.
The platform brings the producer closer to the end customer, gives them the opportunity to get to know them, provides the manufacturer with their own brand, the individual’s brand and their distinctiveness, opens up options to a digital world that is faster, more personal, more transparent and more accessible, and provides an overview of food surpluses/deficits in the region and guidelines for further development,” noted Kozjak.
Therefore, PID, ie a neutral designation of origin, is used by farmers in the three EU countries, and by the end of the year they hope to increase beneficiaries in EU countries, as well as more Croatian users. The reactions they have received have been excellent, especially since the company is in its beginnings of development and recognition.
“The revenue side is sustainable and organic, the company has been recapitalised this year, and with the development and the upgrade of the platform, we’re working to increase revenue and recruitment.
We currently have more than 1,100 different profiles that almost cover a complete range of fresh farm produce. In addition to the fresh assortment, manufacturers also have processed products such as oil, milk, honey, prosciutto and more,” says the Croatian company’s director.
With regard to import and export goods on store shelves across Croatia, Kozjak says that the data shows that we’re not sustainable and that in some segments we have a surplus/production deficit.
“The system we’re developing should provide answers. In order to properly convey information on the surplus or deficit of imported goods, all domestic production parameters are required, primarily focused on four basic questions: Who? What? Where? How much?” Kozjak explained.
“We’re digitising complete smart logistics processes to address unnecessary costs, CO2 emissions and food waste. In addition, we’re developing AI-enabled digital declarations, which will reduce food waste over the long term and ensure faster and more transparent traceability. If we’re planning to use blockchain in the future, we don’t want it to be an agricultural statistic that someone manually enters, as has been done so far,” concluded the Croatian company’s director.
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