05/11/2020 – Science & Technology / Blockchain / Organic Produce
A hive for higher standards
OrgHive, a blockchain-powered digital community platform, helps Chinese consumers to instantly verify organic certificate code before making a purchase, thus overcoming the distrust of authenticity related to such products in what is today the world’s fourth largest organic market. Food & Beverage Networker gets the lowdown on this innovative new platform from Mr Anastasios Papadopoulos, CEO of IMS – the venture acting as an incubator for OrgHive, alongside other game-changing projects.
Garnering traction from health-conscious consumers alongside helping international organic brands to enter China more efficiently and seamlessly, OrgHive is on course to become the biggest digital organic community in Asia. Yet Mr Anastasios Papadopoulos, who in 2016 founded Integrated Management Systems (IMS) – the firm responsible for the advancement of this innovative start-up – didn’t start out in the tech space. “I actually studied Law and Finance at HEC Paris, before kick-starting my career in mergers and acquisitions within the law firm Skadden Arps,” he tells us. “I was fortunate enough to work on several high-profile deals in the tech industry, and it was through those deals that I realised there were exciting opportunities to bring Silicon-Valley-level consulting to Asia.” And indeed, as Mr Papadopoulos banked on the growing need for digitalisation from various enterprises, the demand for such services certainly seems to have presented itself, leading IMS to expand from a three-person startup four years ago, to boast a workforce of more than 300 today.
With IMS, the entrepreneur’s goal was to set a new standard for technology services and – through the firm’s Venture Capital arm – partner with industry champions to create game-changing companies. “OrgHive is one of our most successful portfolio companies within IMS, and probably the one that I’m most proud of,” he remarks.
Cofounded in Hong Kong with Patrick Kaminski – an expert in the FMCG space who worked in China for more than 20 years, and served as top executive for German powerhouses Henkel and Beiersdorf – OrgHive’s mission is “to improve transparency in China’s food supply chain and promote healthier eating habits within Chinese consumers”, according to Mr Papadopoulos. Below, Food & Beverage Networker’s Q&A with the executive reveals more on the technology, its application and how it has been received in the market to date.
Q. (Food & Beverage Networker): How does the OrgHive platform work?
A. (Anastasios Papadopoulos): “OrgHive currently has the largest digital community of organic and natural consumers in China with more than three million monthly visitors to our platform and thousands of daily downloads of our scanning app.
“OrgHive is more than just a social and media platform that empowers consumers to make healthier, more informed lifestyle choices. Leveraging the power of blockchain technology, consumers can verify the authenticity of organic products with a user-friendly WeChat scanning app (mini program).
“For brands, OrgHive is a powerful acquisition tool that transforms their ability to gain consumer trust, reach their target customers, and convert their audiences. Through ROI-driven features, OrgHive gives brands direct access to consumers through microsites (accessible via their own secure CMS), display banner advertising, article features, and product searches.”
Q. With which organisations are you collaborating in order to advance the OrgHive platform?
A. “We’ve collaborated with industry experts to build a solution that makes it easy for consumers to verify authenticity of a product’s organic certification. We’ve teamed up with Max Goldberg, founder of Organic Insider, to give our users insights of the organic market.
“Beyond that, we continue to collaborate with external partners to help position our platform for growth, and to penetrate the consumer and business communities.”
Q. Can you describe China’s organic market today and the key need that OrgHive addresses within that context?
A. “Health is certainly the new wealth. The impact of Covid-19 on consumer buying behaviour was to accelerate the trend toward a more health-conscious life. A growing segment of Chinese consumers are discerning, ingredient-conscious, and hungry for ways to simplify their decision-making when it comes to making better choices for themselves and their family. Product safety and quality of ingredients are top concerns for consumers, yet many don’t know where to access reliable, objective information to help support their desires for better quality of life.
“OrgHive directly addresses these two consumer concerns with its platform infrastructure. For example, our best-in-class AI algorithm helps match consumers with content that allows them to discover new brands and products, and understand how best to live the lifestyle they aspire to lead.”
Q. More broadly speaking, what other trends and opportunities can you identify?
A. “Consumers are driving demand for transparency, whether it’s from brands or governments. As they are increasingly aware of issues spanning safety, nutrition and sustainability, the demand for food traceability has increased accordingly. OrgHive allows brands to respond to that rising need.
“Although OrgHive authentication mechanism is focused on organic products, our community is also interested in broader lifestyle habits such as natural ingredients, healthy eating, or sustainability. OrgHive also caters to those brands.”
Q. Looking ahead, what will be the overall strategy in terms of advancing the OrgHive platform?
A. “Orghive is unique in how it connects consumers to information. There’s a similar need to do so in other segments of the food industry – such as alternative protein, vegan or gluten-free. We’ve been approached by a number of companies from those verticals that want to be part of the OrgHive community too. Our goal is to become the largest social media platform for health-conscious individuals, and a unique place for brands to interact with those individuals.”
For more information on OrgHive, visit: www.orghivemarketing.com
To learn more about other game-changing ventures that IMS is helping to advance, go to: www.imanagesystems.com