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IBM/Planet Retail report recommends GS1 DataBar to fight food waste

Every year, around the world, millions of tons of fresh food that doesn’t get sold in supermarkets go to waste. Beyond the many social and environmental concerns raised by this problem, it’s a major business issue too.

“The Challenge of Food Waste”, as indicated in a recent report sponsored by IBM and written by Planet Retail, a leading provider of global retailing market research, sums it up: “With between 50-60% of sales in a supermarket being derived from the perishable category, it is estimated that between 5-7% of perishables are lost to poor management. This means that food shrinkage and waste can cost retailers up to 4% of their overall revenue.”

The IBM/Planet Retail research describes the ways that GS1 DataBar can help minimize wastage by facilitating automatic price reductions as products approach their sell-by dates.

GS1 DataBar is, in essence, a small bar code that can identify small items and carry more information than traditional bar codes. GS1 DataBar enables Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) identification for hard-to-mark products, such as fresh foods.

One of the many causes of food wastage is that when fresh food expires on the supermarket shelf, it must be thrown out. Because GS1 DataBar can carry information such as lot numbers and expiration dates, it enables automatic markdowns for food that is about to expire without requiring retailers to manually re-label products. Signs in the supermarket aisles announce the price reduction to shoppers, and the discounted prices are automatically taken into account at the checkout when items are scanned. GS1 DataBar makes it easy to perform price reductions on fresh foods that are about to expire, helping them to get off the shelf and into shopping carts.

Read the report from Planet Retail, sponsored by IBM, and access video interviews on the topic here.

Learn more about GS1 DataBar here.

“Deployment of the new GS1 DataBar barcode will enable retailers to offer automated markdowns on products reaching their expiry date.” – The Challenge of Food Waste: A Planet Retail white paper sponsored by IBM

From GS1 Digest June 2012