Beverage Company Uses NFC to Ensure Product Authenticity

By Edson Perin

Liquor provider Roma is employing Avery Dennison technology to connect shoppers with its Cachaça Roma brand and enhance the customer experience.

Ed. Note: A version of this article originally appeared at  IoP Journal.

Fishing, country music and a good sugarcane distillate—the Brazilian spirit known as cachaça—go hand in hand in the country's Center-West Region. Now another ingredient has been added to the mix: Near Field Communication (NFC) technology from  Avery Dennison. Liquor provider  Roma is using NFC tags, deployed by  CCL-ID, to bring consumers closer to its brand and guarantee the authenticity of its beverage, as the technology adds value in managing the entire supply chain.

Roma's founder, engineer and technology enthusiast Rodrigo Pedroso, was responsible for this innovation. Cachaça was born on the Roma farm, located in the city of São Félix do Araguaia, in Brazil's State of Mato Grosso, and the property was named after the initials of his children: Rodrigo and Maria Eduarda. The farm is situated on the banks of the Manso River, one of the largest tributaries of the Araguaia River, located in a sport-fishing region.

This motivated the family to explore the area's tourist side, in addition to agribusiness. Thus was born their hotel business, known as the Hotel Rancho do Matuto—Fazenda Roma. With the hotel, Pedroso and his team considered it important to create something unique for the property. Therefore, they launched a premium drink they dubbed Cachaça Roma. Cachaça, distilled from sugar cane juice, originated in colonial Brazil, he says, and Cachaça Roma became a symbol of the farm hotel's identity.

"Fishing very much involves moments of relaxation and happiness, and so do cachaça and country music, which are very popular in the region," Pedroso explains. "That's why we say Cachaça Roma is based on real fishing and good country music." With NFC, he adds, the idea is to provide traceability and thereby eliminate the risk of the drink being counterfeited, and also to offer security to the product's consumers. "Technology helps us to better understand our customers' consumption habits."

"Of course, we have everything within the General Data Protection Law (LGPD)—we are extremely careful with this," Pedroso notes. "Our intention with NFC is to better understand where our customers are, as well as their consumption habits, so we can deliver better product quality." He says Cachaça Roma has improved in quality since its launch, thanks to good distilleries, packaging, labels and product content. "Our goal includes offering a premium product, ensuring authenticity and evolving over time, always with the aim of improving the product for our customer, day after day."

Sandra Alvarez, Avery Dennison's new business development manager for Mexico, Colombia and Central America, says NFC brings better responses faster in an automated market, enabling companies to improve the customer experience. "A study by global technology research and consulting firm Gartner says 90 percent of companies will compete for a great customer experience going forward," Alvarez notes. "For this reason, businesses need to be attentive to their quality and have products in very good condition, because competition is increasingly focused on the customer experience. There will be a strong association between customers and brands."

The creation of a customer experience with NFC is not complex, Alvarez says, and it can be achieved via Avery Dennison's solutions. "We have extensive experience and a complete system portfolio to identify products with NFC tags and labels, including the chips and antennas for this technology," she states. "We also have a platform that will manage customer data, which can be fully customized for each need."

Integrating companies can use the platform to generate solutions for businesses that need to be closer to their customers, Alvarez says. Through Avery Dennison's NFC platform, she adds, customers can classify products and locate them geographically, in addition to scheduling actions. "In a city, for example, the product can offer specific benefits for particular consumers, such as promotions," she states. "Also, it can give complete information about the origin of the product and its sustainability."

Alexander Modro, Avery Dennison's manager of new business development and smart labels, says NFC meets the demands of product manufacturers that want to be closer to their customers in order to retain them. It can also satisfy the demands of consumers seeking detailed product information, he says—a guarantee of authenticity and a more pleasant and personalized experience that makes them feel exclusive.

"Basically, two things come together: the NFC tag, which will be placed on the product, and the access the consumer will have from this connection to the brand," Modro says. "[Customers will be] taken to the manufacturer's website so they can receive a discount option and get to know the brand better. NFC is something that is happening more and more, as brands are deploying it to understand product geolocation and consumer habits. With blockchain, it becomes possible to show how a product reached a consumer's hands with total transparency, which is increasingly essential for buyers."

According to Modro, there are businesses using NFC technology to guarantee the authenticity of products and prevent counterfeiting, including piracy, as well as others that are adding value to goods by providing differentiated services. "A mountaineering company called  Mammut created an application that facilitates access to the booking of trips recommended by the company via NFC," he says, "with specific promotions for its consumers. If the consumer is satisfied with the brand, he will be easily loyal and will return to buy."

IoP Journal's full interviews can be viewed  here, both in Portuguese and in Spanish.