smart packaging

Applications, Applications, Barcodes, Communications, What's new

Thanks to SmartLabel™, By the time summer rolls around this year, thousands of consumer goods will have specially designed labels that you’ll be able to read with your smart-phone to give you an unprecedented amount of the product’s information. Perhaps smart packaging’s time has finally come after all.

Like a “nutrition Facts” label on steroids

With the help of their smart phone and the use of QR code technology, consumers will have instantaneous access to ingredients, ingredient sourcing practices, third-party certifications, social compliance and sustainability programs, allergens, animal welfare, manufacturer information and more, at their fingertips. These labels will appear on food, beverage and personal care products (as if you didn’t spend enough time already pushing your shopping cart up and down the grocery isles).

Customers without smart phones will be able to get the same information on the web or in some cases, through the retailers’ customer service help desks.

Major companies participating

According to recent news brief from the Grocery Manufacturers Association that is responsible for this initiative, 30 major companies have already committed to taking part in this rollout. These include Pepsi, ConAgra, Hormel, Campbell Soup, Land O’Lakes, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Hersey. Click here if you’d like to see all participating brands.

In a controversial step, one of the key pieces of information the smart label will contain information on whether the product includes GMOs. It remains to be seen if this will calm the controversy surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms. So far there is debate on the nature of the information and its visibility in the new system.

Large-scale smart packaging

To our knowledge, this will be the most widespread use of Internet technology to inform the shopper of a product’s detailed directly in the store. As such it is certainly a step forward in helping consumers make healthy choices, or as the GMA puts it “to provide people with the tools and information they want to make informed choices and live healthy lives”

That said, it would be nice to get more information on the kind of data the participating manufacturers will be collecting as consumers query their products. And what about the privacy issues? With an estimated 30,000 products carrying the Smart Label™ code by 2017, it certainly sounds like a big-data windfall. Maybe smart packaging has finally arrived.