Biodiversity / Food / Water

December 14, 2004


QR Code Enables Easy Access to Food Production Data via Cell Phone

Keywords: Eco-business / Social Venture Food Local government NGO / Citizen Non-manufacturing industry Policy / Systems University / Research institute 

An increasing number of businesses in Japan have been introducing QR (Quick Response) Code, which enables customers to access product information using a cellular phone. The QR Code is a two-dimensional, two centimeter-square bar code that is easily printed on product packages. It can store several dozen to several hundred times more information than a conventional bar code and the information can be accessed through a cellular phone that possesses a function for reading QR Code.

Aeon Co., a major Japanese supermarket operator, has introduced QR Code to its 260 directly managed Jusco stores starting on September 3, 2004. Aeon now uses QR Code for two items, mini tomatoes and burdock sold under its private brand, Top Value Green Eye. Customers can access product information such as messages from producers, records of pesticides and fertilizers used, and recipes. Aeon plans to use QR Code for more than 50 types of fruit and vegetables by the end of fiscal 2004.

Earlier in the year, on August 19, Eco's Co., a mid-sized supermarket chain, began selling fruit and vegetables advertised on the Ibaraki Agricultural Products Online Catalog at all of its 62 supermarkets.

Ibaraki Agricultural Products Online Catalog is a website database jointly operated by Ibaraki Prefecture, the Ibaraki Prefectural Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives, the Ibaraki Prefectural Headquarters National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative and the Engei Ibaraki Shinko Association (The Association for Promotion of Horticulture in Ibaraki Prefecture). The organizers disclose product information such as fertilization and pest-control data provided by farmers, using a database named SEICA developed by the National Food Research Institute of Japan. Customers can access the information by inputting a catalog number or a QR code.

The use of QR Code is gaining in popularity because customers can easily get information via a cell phone. This also reflects a growing concern about food safety and increasing public awareness about food production records.

Posted: 2004/12/14 03:20:46 PM
Japanese version