UnidaSul uses QR Codes to improve customer relationship

Use of smart packaging with 2D Codes has made information about harvesting, freight, and storage available to all consumers

Edson Perin

With smart packaging, the information available about products on supermarket shelves is no longer limited to the physical packaging space. Through various technologies, consumers gain access to all the data about each item they place in their shopping cart.

One of the available technologies is the 2D Code – or QR Code –, which is gaining space on product labels. By pointing the cell phone camera at the 2D Code, the consumer has access to different data, including the entire path taken by the product, from the raw material to the point of sale.

The use of the 2D Code allows the insertion of a large amount of information accessible by a smartphone. In a few clicks, the consumer can find out details about the production, freight, storage and marketing of an item, with transparency, which brings confidence and guarantees the authenticity of products.

UnidaSul found out within technology the way to improve the relationship with its consumers and became an example in the use of the 2D Code in its packaging. In addition, the standardization for the use of the code by the Associação Brasileira de Automação-GS1 Brasil fosters the link between the producer and the final consumer.

From products presentation or the creation of an effective contact bridge between customers and producers, technology serves to clarify doubts or forward suggestions, in direct contact with the manufacturer. “In the GS1 standard, those involved in the agri-food chain will be able to identify this information, precisely because it is organized and standardized”, highlights Douglas Figueiredo, UnidaSul’s production manager.

In addition to providing a more complete shopping experience, the 2D Codes inserted on packages have a direct impact on the traceability and monitoring of certain products. For consumers, this means having access to information about the producer, the origin of the product, harvest date, expanded nutritional data and even possible promotions.

Through intelligent packaging, the customer can know where and how the products that will reach their table come from and make more conscious decisions about which type of product they want to purchase.

If for the end consumer smart packaging serves as a greater guarantee of the quality of what they are going to buy, for the industry going beyond the usual barcode also has a direct impact on the attributes offered by companies.

Within the traceability and monitoring possibilities allowed by this technology, it is possible to highlight the transparency in the information passed on to customers, as well as the efficiency in identifying possible problems in the production chain.

Also, with the application of the 2D Code, it is possible to manage the expiry date of products and possible non-conformities, which reinforces quality assurance.

Active in the wholesale, retail and wholesale sectors, as well as distribution, manufacturing, transport and logistics of consumer goods, UnidaSul works to insert extended packaging in its products in the Fruit, Vegetables or Vegetables (FLV) sector.

In 2019, the company joined the Food Traceability and Monitoring Program (Rama), which aims to bring greater accuracy in identifying the origin of the product, strengthen good agricultural practices and provide information to all agents in the food production chain. Rama was created by the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (Abras).

Among the systems that make up the Rama, the Paripassu Tracking System gives both the producer and the distributor the opportunity to carry out the traceability operation of fruits and vegetables. In a collaborative process, producers and distributors can add information with the aim of forming a relationship with the production base — which can then be enjoyed by consumers on the shelves.

In addition to joining Rama, another feature that optimized weighing, packaging and labeling of products sold by UnidaSul was the Digi automatic tray packer, through the company Sunnyvale.

This partnership, which integrated the technologies of both companies, guaranteed UnidaSul the 2022 Automation Award in the Food Safety category, promoted by the Associação Brasileira de Automação-GS1 Brasil. The award privileges the creativity and efforts of Brazilian companies and professionals in the field of automation and standardization.

“The project that was developed is the integration of our traceability software provided by Paripassu and our product packaging machine provided by Sunnyvale”, says Figueiredo.

Recognition was delivered in November last year, through the integration of product traceability information with the automatic tray packer, used in the minimally processed vegetable industry. For Nildo Wilpert Júnior, IT manager at Paripassu, the initiative “mainly brings information and transparency with a much faster delivery of value to the end customer”.