Tesco scan bananas packaging detail

Tesco and Ocado have become the first retailers to sign commercial contracts for using a new traceability platform called productDNA, which promotes transparency in the supply chain.

Both are now approaching their suppliers to start implementing the service, developed by business standards organisation GS1 UK, into their businesses.

In July 2017, Tesco and Ocado were among the 12 leading grocery retailers and brands that signed an industry charter, announcing a commitment to move to a single solution for managing and exchanging product data.

Responding to this demand, and shoppers growing concern for provenance and sustainable sourcing, GS1 created productDNA to let companies share supply chain information on fresh produce among other products.

The key benefits for the UK grocery industry, according to the company, are that it provides: a common data model for all retailers using a set of agreed product attributes; a simpler, faster product catalogue shared between suppliers and retailers; and third-party verification to improve the quality of product data.

Mark Watson, director of planning and supply chain at Ocado, said: “Retailers and suppliers spend too much time on chasing, checking and rekeying product data. ProductDNA delivers a single product data catalogue that we will all own and trust.

“It will mean we can focus on what’s really important to our businesses, delivering innovation and improving the customer experience.”streamlining new product lines, but productDNA plans to expand the system to “a cost-effective product data solution for the entire grocery market”.

Outlining Tesco’s commitment to the traceability platform, the supermarket’s commercial director for fresh food, George Wright, said: “When adopted universally across the industry, productDNA will give retailers increased confidence in the product data they receive, as well as helping to reduce the amount of inaccurate data and increasing the efficiency of our product data processing.”

Gary Lynch, of business standards organisation GS1 UK, added: “Shoppers and governments are placing greater demands on the retail industry to provide clear and accurate data on the products that they are buying – be it in terms of sustainable sourcing of ingredients, fit with dietary needs or simply correct images and descriptions of items.

“We’re delighted that both Tesco and Ocado have committed to implement productDNA as a step towards providing more accurate and consistent information about the products that they sell.

“We will continue to work with our cross-industry advisory group to develop productDNA to meet the demands of an ever-changing market.”