Evaluating the Impact of QR Codes on Food Products

Evaluating the Impact of QR Codes on Food Products
May 29, 2024 Macklin Tan
In Article
QR codes

QR Codes are a common occurrence in our daily life. It is a two-dimensional barcode that can store a variety of data types, including text, URLs, contact information, and many more. This technology has become one of the most important auto-ID technologies and it was originally designed to support automotive production lines.

Today, this type of code is used for various purposes including food products. In this industry, the code provides consumers with access to a wide range of information, enhances transparency, and improves overall user experience. In this article, we will discuss in depth about the use of this code in food products.

Benefits of QR Codes on Food Products

Although originally designed for automotive production, the codes are used in various other industries nowadays, including food products. Here are the key benefits of applying codes of QR in food products:

Provide Nutritional Information

This code can link consumers directly to detailed nutritional information about the product which includes ingredient lists, calorie counts, allergen information, and nutritional content. This information helps consumers make informed decisions about their food choices, especially if they have strict dietary restrictions.

Easy to Trace Products

QR codes allow consumers to check about the origin of the food products, production methods, and supply chain. Just by scanning the code, they can access detailed information about where the ingredients were sourced, how the product was manufactured, and any quality certifications or standards it uses.

Provide Serving and Receipt Suggestions

Companies can also include this code on packaging and link it to receipt or serving suggestions. This enhances the user experience by providing consumers with creative ways to use the product and incorporate it into their meals.

Promotions and Loyalty Programs

This code is also a great way to offer promotions, discounts, or loyalty programs related to the brand. By scanning the code, consumers may be eligible for special deals, coupons, or rewards, encouraging repeat purchases and brand loyalty.

Sustainability Information

With this code, companies can inform consumers regarding the product’s environmental impact, sustainable sourcing practices, and packaging materials. This allows consumers to make more environmentally friendly choices and support brands that prioritize sustainability.

Challenges of QR Codes on Food Products

While this code offers a lot of benefits for manufacturers and consumers alike, it also presents several challenges. Here are some of the challenges that need to be addressed:

Accessibility

The implementation of QR codes may be difficult with limited accessibility. Not everyone has access to smartphones with QR code scanning capabilities and internet connectivity. Some of them may also not be familiar with how to use this code. 

Consumer Awareness

Many consumers may not be aware of the presence of this code on food packaging or what it is used for. Therefore, brands need to educate consumers about the benefits of this code and what kind of information they can get from scanning the code. They may need to provide clear instructions on how to use them effectively as well.

Data Privacy and Security

Another important concern is related to data privacy and security issues. This code often links to online resources which raises concerns about data privacy and security. Consumers may be hesitant to scan QR codes if they are unsure about how their personal information will be used or if they fear malware or phishing scams.

Considerations for Different Food Categories

When implementing the codes on food products, it is important to consider the unique characteristics and consumer expectations of different food categories.  Here are some considerations that need to be addressed.

Fresh Produce

For this food category, the code can provide information about origin, farming practices, and handling instructions.

Packaged Foods

For packaged foods, the code can offer details about ingredients, nutritional information, allergen warnings, and cooking instructions.

Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

The code on dairy and dairy alternative products can provide information about pasteurization methods, expiration dates, and storage recommendations. It can also provide details on animal welfare practices, hormone usage, and the presence of additives or preservatives.

Meat and Poultry

On this product, this code can offer transparency about sourcing, production methods, and safety standards. It is also a great way to provide information about animal welfare certifications, antibiotic usage, and carbon footprint calculations.

Frozen Foods

This code on frozen foods can convey information about ingredients, nutritional content, and thawing instructions. 

Accessibility and Inclusivity

As explained briefly in the challenge faced by this code implementation above, accessibility and inclusivity are some of the main issues that need to be addressed. While it is great that manufacturers can provide important information readily available to consumers through the code, it will be useless if consumers do not have adequate accessibility.

To address this issue, the code should be compatible with various screen readers and other assistive technologies used by individuals with visual impairments. It should also be placed in easily accessible locations on product packaging, ensuring that they can be scanned easily.

In addition to the code, manufacturers should provide alternative access points to the same information, such as printed URLs, toll-free phone numbers, or other customer service alternatives. This code should be linked to a page that is available in multiple languages to cater to diverse linguistic communities.

Finally, manufacturers should provide clear instructions on how to scan the code and access the information they contain. This may involve including simple visual guides on product packaging or offering educational resources on company websites.

This code has a lot of potential both for manufacturers and consumers as it offers a lot of benefits for both parties. However, there are a few challenges that need to be addressed to ensure that this code can be implemented effectively.

Read About: What is QR Code and Data Matrix Code to learn more about QR codes and their significance in the manufacturing process. You can also see a complete list of thermal inkjet printers here that you can use to print the code for your products.

References

https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/14/8/4437 

https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC134602 

https://ideas.repec.org/a/gam/jsusta/v14y2022i8p4437-d789582.html 

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