In 2009 the swine flu pandemic responsible for more than 17,000 deaths worldwide was found to have originated in pigs from Central America. In 2013, bird flu was transmitted from chickens at a wet poultry market to humans. Now, in 2020, we are faced with COVID-19 which is said to have originated at a seafood market in Wuhan, China.
It seems our food origins storytelling has also become lost along the way. Farmers and fishers who were once the lifeblood of every community have now become faceless suppliers. The connection to our food source has been lost, their regions invisible and the supply chain unknown. This lack of transparency, along with food chain supply inefficiencies, costs the global economy over USD$100bn annually.
Introducing, Two Hands, an Australian start-up born out of a desire to change the way people connect with food. Its mission is to restore trust and closeness between fishers, farmers, chefs, and consumers, to build the same trust we once saw in local communities on a global scale.
What is the story behind Two Hands?
Founder and Managing Director Greg McLardie first saw concern in the global lobster industry three years ago with supply chain inefficiencies causing Australian Southern Rock Lobsters to be handled upwards of 10 times and the fishers being marginalised by profit-hungry middlemen.
“And when I talked to chefs in Shanghai, they were hungry for a transparent connection back to their producers, as they couldn’t trust the ingredients entering their kitchen for worry of fraud,” said Greg.
Two Hands is a digital marketplace, an Airbnb-type disruptor that has reinvented the food supply chain in a bid to create a connection and humanise cutting edge food technology. The marketplace is based on blockchain and smart tagging technology. Two Hands is one of the first companies globally to monetise blockchain.
How exactly does Two Hands work?
The Two Hands marketplace starts at the ‘Source of Truth’, the producer. Each product is tagged and the location, weight and quality recorded. Orders are placed directly from chefs, aggregated and sent directly to restaurants, avoiding numerous middlemen in the traditional supply chain, including fish markets in China.
The blockchain technology validates the source and the product journey, providing full transparency. Each smart tag is unique and customised, enabling the chefs and consumers alike to see videos of the specific producer, the region in which it was harvested, sustainability and finally how it came to be on the consumer’s fork at their chosen restaurant.
“We are on a mission to change people’s relationships with what they eat. We want to create intimate connections with the best farmers and producers so we can offer the world the very best delicacies presented with respect, the way nature intended and transported like you would carry any precious object, with Two Hands.
“Safer, fresher, higher quality food shouldn’t cost more. By directly connecting farmers, fishers and restaurants we save 20% in supply chain costs. Two Hands passes these savings to incentivise Chefs to make the ethical choice, while also incentivising fishers and farmers who supply superior quality,” said Greg.
Two Hands customers already include internationally recognised hotel chain Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai with an additional 15 hotels to be included in the coming months.
“Because I know where the lobster comes from, I know it is being cared for. I am cutting out the middleman and it is coming direct to me. It is out of the ocean and two days later it’s here, it’s alive. I know its natural environment and that it is chemical free, it has not been tampered by anybody in the process. What I am getting is a true authentic product,” Head Chef Alistair Carter, of Waldorf Astoria stated.
Two Hands prides itself on avoiding fish markets and dealing directly with the farmers. It is through this strategy the company is well-placed to capitalise on safe Australia-China food trade after COVID-19, to mitigate future outbreaks through food handling. Coupled with the expansion into more seafood and beef, Two Hands annualised revenue is earmarked at over AUD$1 million.
Two Hands has partnered with the Australian equity crowdfunding platform Birchal, aiming to raise AUD $3 million through public investment to expand their proteins and restaurants and further evolve its digital marketplace, making it indispensable to its users.