Woolworths to trial 2D barcodes

Woolworths is set to become the first Australian supermarket to trial data embedded barcodes in stores from August.

In a statement released by Woolworths, the trial has the potential to help reduce the millions of tonnes of food waste generated in Australia each year, and will eliminate the risk of customers purchasing expired products.

In collaboration with Woolworths, Hilton Foods and Ingham’s will start placing 2D barcodes on fresh meat and poultry products sold via Woolworths supermarkets nationally.

“We’re proud to be the first Australian supermarket to invest in this technology, and hope it can help us further reduce food waste. 2D barcodes have immense potential and we’re excited to see how they will improve food safety, traceability and stock management,”  Richard Plunkett, Woolworths General Manager of Business Enablement, said.

GS1, which develops and maintains global standards for business communication, has been assisting Woolworths with its trial.

“Four decades on from inception, barcode scanning technology in Australia continues to evolve. The fresh food sector relies on accurate and complete data to track a product’s journey all the way from the farm to the supermarket shelves. It’s great to see Woolworths leading the way in bringing 2D barcodes to shoppers at point-of-sale,” Maria Palazzolo, CEO and Executive Director of GS1 Australia.

“Ingham’s is proud to be a pioneer in the 2D barcode initiative with Woolworths. Food safety and traceability are paramount to our business. Delivering quality products that incorporate cutting edge technology to enhance these elements and provide a range of benefits to consumers is a step we gladly embrace. We’re very excited to be partnering with Woolworths in the initial roll out of this technology and look forward to seeing the real-time and long-term benefits it will bring,” Ed Alexander, Ingham’s Head of Sales – Woolworths said.

Successful trials in Germany, the UK and Thailand have shown material benefits for both customers and suppliers.

A number of other suppliers across health and beauty, freezer and long-life categories have introduced 2D barcodes in anticipation of future barcode adoption.

Woolworths will work with industry bodies and suppliers to develop a phased roll out plan to help ensure more suppliers can adopt the new printing technologies.

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