[31 May/Food and Beverage Magazine]

Woolworths is set to become the first Australian supermarket to trial data embedded (or 2D) barcodes in stores from August, with the trial having the potential to help reduce food waste generated in Australia and will also help to eliminate the risk of customers purchasing expired products. Hilton Foods and Ingham will be partnering with Woolworths to place barcodes on poultry and fresh meat nationally. 2D barcodes contain information about the product’s batch, supplier, used by date, and serial numbers at the point of sale which will help retailers to pinpoint batches of recalled product more easily helping to identify sources of contamination, which will reduce unaffected products also being thrown away due to uncertainty on products affected. When the product is scanned at the point of sale, customers will be alerted if products are past their expiry date with the system refusing the purchase. Successful trials in Germany, the UK and Thailand have shown material benefits for both customers and suppliers.