The latest innovation in point-of-sale product identification from GS1 is "2DBarcodes", content-rich, on-pack symbols that enable multiple data elements to be embedded and made available when labels are scanned at point-of-sale.
The barcodes were recently launched into Woolworths supermarkets and offer retailers details on product batch/lot numbers, serial numbers, best before dates, use-by dates, pack dates and weight and price.
One of the big wins for 2DBarcodes is the ability to stop the sale of expired or recalled products at the checkout.
“2DBarcodes have immense potential," said Richard Plunkett, General Manager Business Enablement, Woolworths. "We’re excited to see how they can improve food safety across the entire Woolworths network.”
Future potential for liquor
While the technology has initially launched in the fresh food sector, GS1 is exploring its potential for the liquor industry.
"The launch of 2DBarcodes at Woolworths has certainly generated significant interest in the marketplace," said Andrew Steele, Director - Retail at GS1 Australia.
"This will continue as the implementation extends to more products and categories. 2DBarcodes offer new opportunities for all stakeholders in the Australian retail industry, providing the ability to hold additional information beyond basic product identification."
Winemakers are already using 2D QR codes, with customers scanning them with their smart phones to receive more information about products.
One of the most successful has been TWE's 19 Crimes, which uses them as part of its augmented reality Living Wine Labels app to bring the stories of the convicts on the labels to life.
TWE has also been using QR codes to deal with counterfeiting issues with its Penfolds brand in China.
"The technology is not new," he explained. "What is new is the implementation of 2DBarcodes by innovative retailers around the world to be scanned at point-of-sale.
"There will be significant benefits for products such as beer and RTDs that have a finite shelf life. The date codes and batch/lot numbers are already printed in human readable format and can be included in the retail point-of-sale barcode.
"There will also be capability through a new standard called GS1 Digital Link. This allows a web address (URL) to be included in the barcode, pointing to the consumer to a specific website with further information."
GS1 is working with industry to look at the future of 2DBarcodes to come up with a collaborative roadmap for implementation and is inviting suppliers to be part of the process.
"We have a Data Embedded (2DBarcode) working group that meets quarterly and is open to all industry stakeholders to join, this includes suppliers from the liquor sector," Steele said.
For further information visit: https://www.gs1au.org/for-your-industry/2d-barcodes
GS1 is a Corporate Partner of the Drinks Association.