From a seed in the soil to the farmer plucking the produce and delivering it into the hands of a grocer – St. Pete startup Wise Up wants to track it all.
Wise Up Food LLC was formed in 2020 by Bill O’Neill, who has spent 30 years in the protein/food distribution industry.
“We, as an industry, want consumers to connect with their food,” O’Neill said. “The intent is to use blockchain to trace where the product started and its journey.”
With Wise Up’s app, consumers can scan certain items with a QR code that then accesses information on the origin of the product, the nutrition information, how to properly cook it and related recipes.
Wise Up owns the exclusive license from the patent-holder to use the QR code to promote perishables and wine in the U.S.
“Our app is all about the traceability and verification from vendors,” O’Neill said.
Many grocers may have stickers on produce, naming the farm it originated from, and restaurants may claim to use local ingredients. By having the background knowledge by way of an app, consumers can know exactly how the item ended up on a shelf or on their plate, O’Neill explained.
Wise Up, headquartered at 600 1st Ave. North in St. Petersburg, focuses on fresh produce and food, pet supplies, and wine and spirits.
The company also wants to work with restaurants in addition to farmers.
“We can put a code on a menu and people can scan that code and see a chef making that product and the ingredients they put into that product. It tells a story,” O’Neill said.
Today, Wise Up is working with Hitchcock’s Green Market on 22nd Avenue North in St Pete and 82 Degrees in St. Pete Beach that’s on the same property as The Saint Hotel.
O’Neill said Wise Up is also working with a winery on the West Coast and a distiller in Michigan.
“Down the road, we want to have the app proactive in recalls for any products. I also really hope we can reach a point of pairing food with wine and spirits on the same app,” he said.
To date, Wise Up is made up of six employees and has not received any outside funding, but O’Neill said they may seek funding in the near future as the app continues to grow.
Wise Up plans to attend the Bitcoin & Blockchain Summit at Tampa’s Amalie Arena this week.
The company will also be presenting at a regenerative farming event Nov. 15 in Kansas in front of 300 farmers and ranchers.