THAILAND – A QR (Quick Response) code system installed by Tesco Lotus allows consumers to trace the origin of fresh fruit, vegetables and chicken and pork on sale at any of its retail outlets in Thailand.
According to Pornpen Nartpiriyarat, trading law and technical head at Tesco Lotus, the QR code scanning is the latest innovation implemented at its supermarkets to meet the needs of health-conscious consumers and address food safety concerns.
Noting the importance of using technology in the retailing process, particularly in tech-savvy countries such as Thailand, she explained that Tesco Lotus aims to bring good food and new technologies to it customer base.
“One of the most visible and recent signs of this combination of food and technology is the QR codes we’re now putting on our products in Tesco Lotus stores,” said Pornpen. “They’re popular with customers because they’re fun, informative and easy to use.
“But they also provide a fundamental level of reassurance about the quality, safety and freshness of the food we sell; by connecting our customers and the products they purchase to the start of the supply chain.”
The British-owned Tesco Lotus first introduced a QR code system for 60 lines of fruit and vegetables sold in its stores last year. Encouraged by positive customer response it received, the retailer extended the use of this facility to fresh pork and chicken in February this year – a technical first in Thailand.
The software for the QR codes – which was developed and deployed by FXA - is simple to understand and easy to use: customers can use their smartphones or tablets to scan the QR code displayed on a product package to find out where that product originated from as well as receive the tracking number for that specific product batch.
In addition, customers will receive nutritional information about, for example, the chicken thigh which code has been scanned, including Guideline Daily amounts (GDA), a recommended way of preparing that cut of meat, and information about any current promotions or special offers on chicken thighs.
Extending the QR code system for consumer use
Thailand has had a QR code system in place for several years now that allows officials to trace the origin of animal products and agricultural produce. However, this was only used for goods intended for exports.
Wimolporn Thitisak, deputy director-general of the Department of Livestock Development, explained that the DLD set up an "e-traceability" system to upgrade safety standards for the handling of fresh meat in preparation for the start of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in late-2015.
Applauding Tesco Lotus’s decision to also utilize this technology and implement it in retail, Wimolporn said, “We are delighted that a leading retailer like Tesco Lotus is supporting DLD policies with the QR system while gives consumers the ability to trace information.
“Scanning the QR code on packaging is an innovation that will be highly beneficial to consumers.”