The intent behind adding quick response codes is aimed at creating a sense of food safety for consumers – including all the comprehensive details and information about the product, making access to information an inclusive experience.
In a recent advisory released by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a suggestion to include QR codes on the labels of food products has been declared. In an official communication signed by its director of the Science and Standards Division, the notice emphasises the importance of creating information access to all kinds of consumers – particularly those who are visually challenged. This new recommendation holds utmost importance in the context of India being one of the largest markets for packaged food products in the world, thereby allowing the consumer to make conscious choices on what is best suited for their needs.
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Scanning the QR codes will allow buyers to have information about the ingredients, allergens, manufacturing dates, expiry dates, nutritional value, additional warnings as well as contact information for customer outreach. This new initiative is directed at aligning with the FSSAI’s Food Safety and Standards Regulations of 2020 – which sheds special emphasis on labelling and display, as well as the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 – where individuals with disabilities must have full access to information.
The presence of a QR code on food labels does not negate the compliance standards that manufacturers must follow, by stating information regarding the product on the label, based on any relevant regulations that must be abided. This, according to the FSSAI, will encourage buyers to make informed choices and verify for themselves if a product aligns with the advertised USPs. As one of the countries that have been the leading user of a QR code, among France, USA and the UK, the Indian market for packaged food requires the packaging to be taken as seriously as the food product, helping influence positive consumer behaviour.