Intelligent labels provide path to consumer trust

Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Intelligent labels provide path to consumer trust

Connecting consumers directly with food producers through the use of smart labelling could increase trust, new research suggests.

The EIT-funded Smart Tags project is working with consumers, producers and retailers to develop smart labelling similar to QR codes.

Coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Reading alongside a consortium of other European developers, the active and intelligent labels will allow shoppers to get rapid and better information about the food and drinks they consume.

The tags will also enable consumers and other stakeholders of the supply chains to exchange and collect information at pre-purchase and post-purchase levels on different aspects of food and drink products.

The information includes the product’s freshness, the temperature in the package and the product’s appropriateness for personal diet.

The labels will also provide information on sustainability, origin, potential allergens, recipes and storage instructions.

An example of bio-active labelling.

Dr Giuseppe Nocella, Professor at the University of Reading, said consumers want to know more about the food they are eating before and after purchasing them.

“They want to be assured in a friendly way not only about the quality, safety and sustainability of the food and drinks that they consume but also how to recycle and dispose these products,” Nocella said.

“These new systems of communication, providing a much easier way for consumers to rapidly and directly check the quality and safety of their products, can be seen as a key factor to enhance trust from farm to fork making food supply chains more transparent.”

Ongoing surveys with consumers and food industry stakeholders in different European countries will provide a clear map of consumers’ and stakeholders’ acceptance of the smart tags conveying information in real time for different products. These results will be disseminated in 2021 via EIT channels, other institutional channels and scientific publications.

Images courtesy of University of Reading.

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