Leading UK retail organisation, the Co-operative Group, is to trial QR codes on the packaging of some of its food products in order to analyse the value of providing customers with added information regarding these goods.

QR codes (short for ‘Quick Response’ codes) are complex patterns which, when scanned using the reader on a smartphone, provide detailed information on a specific product of service.

The Co-operative Group says it believes that in using QR codes on their products it will be providing a much-needed service for its customers.

“Consumers have a growing appetite for knowledge on all things food related”,

Explained head of strategy, insight and planning at Co-operative Foods, Helen Bridgett; claiming that using QR codes provides an ‘easy way’ to access such information.

The Co-operative Group will initially test the use of QR codes on five of its food items: baking potatoes; Maris Piper potatoes; onions; desert apples; and pears.

Scanning the QR code on each of these products will, in the words of Bridgett, tell consumers:

“what they are buying, where it’s from and how it got here, as well as the health benefits and what they can do with it in the kitchen”.

In addition, Bridgett advises, the Co-operative Group sees QR codes not only as an added information tool, but one which can also help provide ‘an opportunity to raise awareness’ of the chain’s products.

If the initial trial proves successful, the Co-operative Group says it may extend the use of QR codes on many more of its products.