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ROUGE, the hi-tech tag for PGI Sicily’s blood oranges

ROUGE, the hi-tech tag for PGI Sicily’s blood oranges

Case Study

The fight against counterfeiting of “Made in Italy” citrus fruits now has a new ally

The traceability of agri-food products to defend and support “Made in Italy” products reflects the increasingly binding legal requirements but also responds to the consumers’ growing need for information and trust.

Italy is Europe’s leading producer of products with designation of origin. In recent years, trade of counterfeit products has grown exponentially and constitutes a considerable threat to economic growth, while also jeopardizing the implementation of good practices and the country’s image abroad.

A few figures? According to the 2017 Report of the Central Inspectorate for Quality Safeguarding and Fraud Repression of Agri-food Products (ICQRF), over 50,000 inspections revealed:


illegal operators


illegal products


illegal samples

€ 90 milion

value of seized products


the value of imports to Europe made up by the sale of counterfeited products, according to the European Union Intellectual Property Office


irregularities on 7,200 wine inspections made by ministerial inspectors


Oranges are a Sicilian product of excellence. Over 50% of the total national produce comes from the island (in 2018, roughly one million tons out of one million and 622 thousand tons produced nationally).

Counterfeiting and fraud are detrimental to the consumer and cause losses for both the producers and Sicily. Even more so now that Sicily has started exporting to China.

In the recent months, batches of oranges coming from South Africa that were passed off as IGP Blood Oranges were seized.

At present, there are no certain product traceability systems.

ROUGE, an entirely new way of safeguarding Sicilian oranges

ROUGE, the acronym for Red Orange Upgrading Green Economy, is now a reality. Designed by Almaviva with the Blood Oranges of Sicily IGP Consortium, this new ally to safeguard the Sicilian citrus industry will offer the associated companies product protection and consumer safeguarding services.

The project involves four major entities: CREA, the research body that collects production data, the University of Catania, which generates economic models based on the field data to aid decision-making, the Consortium which, thanks to these tools, can verify the origin of the products and trace their path, and Almaviva, as the technological partner.

The product’s entire history on the smartphone thanks to blockchain technology

The traceability platform works with blockchain technology, a system already experimented by AlmavivA to trace products along the wine production chain.

In the case of oranges, the system is based on the interaction between the portal used by the Consortium, showing data coming from the various sources for monitoring the entire IGP Blood Oranges segment, and a smartphone app used by the consumer, which provides information on the entire chain.

The digital tag for oranges, checked from the field to the table

Through an NFC tag affixed to the fruit crates, the app allows for monitoring the production field thanks to a system that geolocalizes the map supplied by a public source, the date of harvesting, and the conservation and distribution methods.

If, on the one hand, the hi-tech tag connected to the blockchain system guarantees the certain identification of data, based on information coming from the public administration and from the companies linked to the Consortium, on the other hand it ensures the correct link with the certified and immutable history of the product.

The main advantages?

Fight against counterfeiting

Cutting of red tape

Fewer data attribution errors

Improvement of inspection operations

Monitoring of the sector by the public administration

Possibility of promoting the produce on the international markets


Supply Chain 4.0 for Agri-food. And not only

With a minimal impact in terms of architecture and process flows, the Almaviva traceability platform can be applied to all “Made in Italy” food and non-food products. From Bronte pistachios to luxury designer fashion.

The next step? Extending the traceability concept to the entire agri-food world, by creating a 4.0 supply chain management platform

Moreover, the same method can be applied to other industrial markets to trace, for example, the origin of raw materials, the certification, testing and maintenance processes of equipment and industrial systems, as well as the life cycle of spare parts. With a system of this kind, mechanical engineering companies could enhance their efficiency and control, but also become manufacturers of instruments to support new 4.0 supply chains, for example by creating machines to facilitate the reading and editing of intelligent tags capable of interacting with the new Web 3.0 decentralized paradigms, in other words, blockchain-ready instruments. All these activities fall under the National Industry 4.0 Plan.

Contact the team for further information

The method consists in attaching a unique NFC tag to each crate that securely retrieves the entire history of the IGP Blood Oranges.

The use of NFC and RFID technologies helps people to become well-informed and knowledgeable consumers. Thanks to the use of intelligent tags, everyone can know the history of the oranges and the characteristics that make them unique in the world.


Near-field communication refers to a technology that provides two-way close-range wireless connectivity


The acronym RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) refers to a technology for the automatic identification and/or memorization of information based on the data memorization capacity of special electronic tags (or even transponders or electronic and proximity keys).