How Technology Helps Small Coffee Growers Build Their Own Brands

How Technology Helps Small Coffee Growers Build Their Own Brands

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - 9:15am

CAMPAIGN: HP Inc. | Digital Equity

CONTENT: Article

Creating a brand to promote awareness of the conditions of impoverished small farmers is not a new idea. But the work of Mexico’s Ercus Foundation goes beyond fair payment for crops. It includes financial aid, economic education, the development of technologies and partnerships. Recently, the use of personalized digitally printed packaging for innovative, attention grabbing marketing has come into play as well. 

The Ercus Foundation is a non-governmental, non-profit organization established by Alejandro España, the chairman of the Ercus Group. The Ercus Group is primarily a food and beverage group that also works closely with farmers to improve crop yields, conserve resources, and help them overcome poverty. 

Its latest venture, the Café Franqueza project, is focused on the country’s coffee growers. Café Franqueza is a social business, developed with the purpose of generating value and sustainability along the production and commercialization chain, with emphasis on the livelihood of the farmers. It works with Chambers of Commerce, the OECD, the UN, and other foundations and agencies to help farmers improve their yields and get fair prices for their crops.

The Ercus Group understands the benefits of digital print technology and has invested in HP Indigo 20000 Digital Presses to create all of its own packaging. For the Café Franqueza project, the Ercus Group used its HP press, designed for flexible packaging production, to create a strong image and identity with personalized coffee bags. 

To promote the Café Franqueza brand, photographs of coffee farmers with a brief biography and a map showing their location is printed on each pouch of coffee. Initially the group printed 5,000 pouches each of three designs, and it plans to expand those efforts, printing thousands of different designs with images of farmers on them.

Through the use of this packaging, Café Franqueza is helping transform the lives of coffee farmers in Mexico by enabling them to improve their brand by personalizing their product packaging and better market their crops. This work also allows them to build a human connection with consumers who want to know where the products they purchase come from.