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2DB - The future of fresh foods for retail

Food safety for fresh foods is entering a new era for the retail sector. Supermarket giants the world over have recognised the need to transform the way food is managed within the supply chain to ensure customer safety.  
Account Director for Retail at GS1 Australia, Andrew Steele said upon return from a recent overseas visit where he met with international retailers such as Carrefour, Tesco and Metro, "One of the major challenges to achieving increased food safety in retail is the sheer volume of data in the supply chain. Data from multiple sources and in disparate formats. To date the retail sector at large has not had the necessary tools to address this challenge in the context of today's market conditions and operational realities". 

Enter the 2DBarcode. A content-rich, on-pack symbol that is about to transform fresh foods in the retail environment. The single symbol enables multiple data elements to be available at point-of-sale including product batch/lot number, serial number, best before date, use-by date, pack date, weight and price. 

Maria Palazzolo, CEO of GS1 Australia said, "2DBarcodes can help solve many of today's retail business problems in the areas of meat, seafood, deli, dairy, bakery as well as packaged fruit and vegetables because one small barcode can reveal a wealth of information that just can't be squeezed onto a traditional linear barcode". 

Woolworths have already taken a proactive approach to improving consumer food safety by piloting 2DBarcodes in a trial across several stores in Sydney. Richard Plunkett, Woolworths' General Manager of Business Enablement said, "The (2DBarcode) trial was a complete success and demonstrates that 2DBarcodes have immense potential. We're excited to see how they can improve food safety across the entire Woolworths network". 

What do 2DBarcodes mean for food safety? 

A lot, actually. For customers, the sale of expired or recalled products can be stopped at the register. If an out-of-date or recalled product is scanned at point-of-sale, the information contained in the 2DBarcode will alert the customer and prohibit the product from being purchased. 

For suppliers and retailers, food products can be recalled by batch lot number. The affected batch lots can be identified more accurately within the supply chain. This means only the affected products need to be removed from warehouses and supermarket shelves. Currently, the product recall process requires all recalled products to be removed from the supply chain and disposed of.  

The information supplied by 2DBarcodes will also allow retailers to pinpoint the specific batches affected by a recall or withdrawal and trace it back through the production line, making it easier to identify the source of contamination. 

2DBarcodes also help increase food freshness and sustainability. The extra data enables improvements to date management, enhancing product rotation to increase food freshness and reduce food waste. 

In the future, customers will access the information contained within 2DBarcodes on their smartphones. 

For more information visit https://www.gs1au.org/data-embedded-barcodes


Originally published in Food Australia journal.
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