Smartphones and tablets might have been built for communication, checking email, browsing the internet and playing games, but now you can trace the origin of the morning glory and cabbage that you buy from the supermarket.
A consumer scans the QR code for morning glory.
By downloading QR code scanning apps such as QR Droid for Android-based smartphones or NeoReader for iPhones or iPads, you can transform your device into a produce expert.
At Tesco Lotus, consumers can scan the QR code on the vegetable shelf and trace the item back to the source producers. At the moment, only morning glory and cabbage are available for scanning.
The QR code is the latest innovation to meet the needs of health-conscious consumers and to reassure them about food safety, according to Tesco Lotus trading law and technical head Pornpen Nartpiriyarat. Scanning the QR code on the packaging will reveal the origin of the vegetable, which includes the exact location of the plot it was planted.
The system has been designed to link with Google Earth, and consumers are able to see where the product has been on the supply route and the critical control points. Consumers can also get nutritional information and a recommended recipe which will be updated every month.
"This initiative will change the face of fresh products in Thailand as from now consumers can get detailed information about these items and can be confident in the quality of the food," Pornpen said.
The QR code for vegetables was developed with Pran Fresh Co Ltd which has its own organic farm and 10 grower partners. Tesco Lotus is working with other suppliers as the QR code will be extended to 20 other vegetables over the next two months.
Apart from vegetables, the QR code will be applied to fruit, meat and imported products.
Tesco Lotus will roll out the system around the country within three years.
Imported fruit such as apples and grapes will be part of the QR system in the coming months, and will provide a link to videos of farmers harvesting the crops.
Tesco Lotus fresh food trading director Mark Murphy said the system will help consumers who look for high quality.
At the same time, it will help Thai farmers market their products to suit the demand for fresh food.
The QR code system is part of the Tesco Lotus Freshness Guarantee programme launched last August. Over the past few months, Tesco Lotus has been giving specialised food safety training to growers, increased direct sourcing to get fresh products to customers and expanded the fresh distribution centre at Lam Luk Ka, Pathum Thani. Department of Agricultural Extension deputy director Withaya Athipanan said technology has been used to assure consumers about food safety and encourage producers and farmers to be more careful during production.
Consumers can get nutritional information and recommended recipes via smartphone.