Page 32 - Food&Drink Magazine May-June 2020
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more accurately within the supply chain. It means only the affected products need to be removed from warehouses and supermarket shelves rather than all products.
The Woolworths trial saw GS1 data embedded barcodes used for fresh food products including meat, poultry, seafood, deli, dairy and bakery to help improve food safety and reduce food waste.
For Woolworths GM of business enablement Richard Plunkett, the technology has immense potential to improve food safety, traceability and stock management.
Following the trial, he says the company is “excited to see how they can improve food safety across the entire Woolworths network”.
Ingham’s head of sales – Woolworths Ed Alexander says the company was proud to pioneer the 2D barcode.
“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,” he says.
Plunkett says the next step for Woolworths is to work with industry bodies and suppliers to develop a phased roll out plan, so more more suppliers can adopt the technology.
The barcode symbols can be in the format of either a GS1 DataBar expanded or a GS1 DataMatrix. The GS1 DataMatrix also has a better read rate at point of sale, resulting in fewer delays at the check-out, the company says.
GS1 says that in the future customers will be able to access the information contained within 2DBarcodes on their smartphones. ✷
  A new dimension
Standards and solutions provider GS1 trialled the latest data embedded barcode technology (2D barcodes) with Woolworths and its suppliers to show the system’s potential.
GS1 Australia CEO and executive director Maria Palazzolo says that since barcode technology began four decades ago, scanning technology has continued evolving. The latest development of data embedded barcodes – 2DBarcodes – has just been successfully trialled with Woolworths and some of its suppliers including Ingham’s and Hilton Foods.
Palazzolo says: “2DBarcodes can help solve many of today’s retail business problems in the areas of meat, seafood, deli, dairy, bakery, as well as packaged fruit and vegetables because one small barcode can reveal a wealth of information that just can’t be squeezed onto a traditional linear barcode.”
Trials in Germany, the UK and Thailand have also shown material benefits for both customers and suppliers, she says.
2DBarcodes can include large amounts of product information – batch number, lot number, best-before date, use-by date, pack date, product weight, product price and more.
The barcodes store data in two dimensions, so instead of a series of black and white bars the barcode looks like a checkerboard, or series of traditional barcodes stacked on top of one another.
GS1 Australia account director Andrew Steele says, “One of the major challenges to achieving increased food safety
in retail is the sheer volume of data in the supply chain from multiple sources and in disparate formats.
“To date, the retail sector at large has not had the necessary tools to address this challenge in the context of today’s market conditions and operational realities.”
The availability of additional data means more accurate expiration date management, automatic markdowns, improved stock control and less food waste.
It can help customers at the register by stopping the purchase of products that have been scanned out-of-date or recalled, Steele says.
Food products can be recalled by a specific batch lot number, with the affected lots identified
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