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The rollout of 2DBarcodes from GS1 is providing traceability solutions across the supply chain and providing opportunities to do even more. This article was first published in Food & Drink Business May 2021.

End-to-end traceability throughout the supply chain can deliver significant benefits for not only companies, but also suppliers and customers. GS1Australia is working with a range of businesses at each stage of food supply to help them understand the benefits of GS1 2DBarcodes.

The ability to track and trace information such as the origin of raw materials, how a product was made and how it was moved before it reached the end customer creates greater transparency in the entire paddock to plate process. It can play a significant role in assuring product quality, safety and authenticity.

When Woolworths began trialling GS1 DataMatrix in its stores last August, the aim was to use the 2DBarcodes – which hold valuable information including use-by and best before dates, weight, price and batch IDs – to assist with waste management and food safety.

“We’re excited to be the market leader in this trial of GS1 2DBarcodes,” said Roberto Olivares, Woolworths senior project manager.

“2DBarcodes add an additional line of defence to our established food safety protocols and support a more targeted response to risks thanks to improved traceability.

“We look forward to hearing feedback from suppliers and customers in the coming months. We plan to build on the potential of these barcodes well beyond food safety to offer customers valuable information on provenance, quality and sustainability. As we work towards a better tomorrow with our suppliers, 2DBarcodes can help us communicate a product’s verified sustainability credentials to customers.”

Introducing end-to-end product traceability as a strategic priority can unlock significant value, as well as create new opportunities for both the agriculture and food industries.

As more producers, suppliers and industry bodies show interest in 2DBarcodes, it’s hoped more businesses at different stages of the supply chain will begin using them. However, this will take time.

It is not something that can be done at the flick of a switch, and there are many aspects that need to be considered when moving to 2DBarcodes, which GS1 can assist businesses to navigate.

With Woolworths leading the way, 2DBarcodes have the potential to reshape how food is tracked, traced and managed from field to fork, to reduce food waste, enhance food safety, verify quality and connect with customers.

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