By Allergen Bureau

Using ‘Next-generation Barcodes’ to Improve Allergen Labelling 

A recent survey by GS1 has revealed that 56 per cent of people with food allergies have suffered allergic reactions due to inadequate labelling. And, despite 60 per cent of allergy-conscious shoppers diligently checking food labels for relevant information, only 24 per cent reported being able to consistently find the necessary details. In response to these findings, GS1 has proposed next-generation barcodes as a potential solution. 

Next-generation barcodes, which integrate linear and QR codes, offer real-time, accurate allergen information accessible via smartphones. Responses to GS1’s survey reportedly underscored strong consumer preference for products featuring QR codes, with 83 per cent of those with allergies more likely to be influenced by their presence and 64 per cent already using their smartphones to scan on-pack QR codes. GS1 maintain this technology could significantly enhance transparency and consumer confidence in food purchasing decisions, especially for people with food allergies. 

Among the key information that people with allergies reportedly wish to find when they scan a QR code, 57 per cent are seeking a full list of ingredients and 56 per cent want information about allergens. Thirty-seven per cent want more information on precautionary allergen labelling like ‘may contain’. 

Used more widely, GS1 say next-generation QR codes on food packaging have the potential to further improve safety and quality of life for people impacted by food allergy. 

See the full media report on the GS1 UK website