QR Codes for Food Packaging

a woman scanning a qr code on food packing in a supermarket
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People care about transparency in food production and logistics now more than ever before. Having QR codes on packaging to improve quality control, be transparent regarding ingredient origins, and fair working practices will increase consumer trust in your brand.

The global smart packaging market size is growing at a CAGR of 8.91% from 2016 to 2024 according to this report by Grand View Research. Most Fortune 500 companies in 2020 have already adapted to putting QR codes on their packaging to increase transparency, share tracking information, get feedback, engage in communication with consumers, and increase followers to their social media accounts. Now with contactless marketing trends, this is only expected to increase.

 a graph with US smart packaging market revenue by sector
Image source: Grand View Research

Using QR codes for food packaging benefits the business as well as the consumer in terms of transparency, relevant information regarding storage and shelf life, and can be used for reordering, connections to social media, sharing recipes, apps, and stories.

Benefits of Using QR Codes for Food Packaging

1. QR codes are the sustainable option

Food packages with QR codes allow for less printed materials and packaging so that the most information can be given with the least amount of paper, extra plastic, and ink. 

2. It promotes transparency

Having a QR code that shows origins, tracking, and ingredient information gives more comfort to consumers that care about food quality, health, and logistical information.

3. It’s easy to make your brand recognizable

Creating customizable QR codes makes your brand stand out to your consumer immediately. It takes little time to design a beautiful QR code with your brand colors and logo. Placing a clear discount or social media source will let your customers know what to expect when scanning the QR code.

4. Easily create special offers for scanning the QR code

Customers enjoy receiving relevant information and special offers by scanning a QR code. Using incentives like discounts if they scan a QR code for downloading an app or following social media accounts creates an exclusive offer they can't refuse.

5. Measure your digital marketing campaign success

Scanned QR codes enable businesses to analyse the performance of each of the scans and the marketing campaign in general. With printed materials it is more difficult to scale whether the marketing campaign has driven sales and gained followers.

6. Receive feedback straight from the source

Supercode's QR code for feedback allows users to create a code in minutes that catches the customer's eye. Take advantage of short categories that are customizable regarding food, beverage, and any other necessary information you would like feedback on to improve your brand. With the analytics dashboard, see what city every scan came from and receive optional comments and contact information from consumers who gave feedback.

Applications for Using QR Codes for Food Packaging

1. Educate your audience with transparency

If you have a food business, and you want to share information regarding ingredients, health, and origin information while leaving more space on your bottles and packaging for a fresh design, now you can do it all! Do you want to emphasize the health benefits on the package but ensure safe origins and fair work practices where customers can check that at their convenience? Leave all the details on your website and add a URL QR code to give consumers the necessary information they need, while using less ink, paper, and plastic on the package.

2. Share stories about your company

Share exciting stories about how you created your brand with information on quality, ingredients, interviews with farmers, workers, and even sourcing maps.

3. Re-order with ease

Being able to re-order any quantity from your e-commerce site can be done by clicking a QR code on the box or bottle and sending them straight to your site. This is especially helpful in wholesale situations, such as offices and gyms.

4. Interact with consumers through social media

If social media platforms are where you advertise new products and seasonal promotions, then having a Supercode social media QR code is the most convenient way to broadcast that on your packaging. Now create a two-way communication channel with your audience when they leave comments and suggestions.

5. Offer discounts, coupons and sales promotions

Are you offering a discount if customers order by case instead of by bottle? Is there a promotion you’ve teamed up with at a certain store? Now by clicking the QR code, get a coupon that gives out discounts to keep consumers coming back for more of your quality products.

6. Incorporate bonus recipe suggestions

Incorporate QR codes on your food packaging with bonus recipes for scanning. Consumers love something extra when they make a purchase and being able to cook something new will evoke them to scan the QR code and try something different. Either suggest recipes specifically for the product bought or add an e-cookbook to promote all of the products. Or, even add a link to your smart recipe platform where people can create their profile, explore recipes, cookbooks, and share with other users.

7. Create a competition

Brands from Nestle to Coca-Cola incorporate competitions on QR codes on their packaging to give consumers a bonus for their buy. Any food company can do the same, piquing interest in customers to try your product.

How to Make a QR Code for Food Packaging

Creating QR codes on Supercode is easy and takes seconds. Here is a quick guide on how to create QR codes for food packaging to achieve your marketing goals. 

1. Choose the right type of QR code. Here are some of our suggestions: 

  • URL QR Codes - perfect for sharing website content or sending customers directly to brand information, stories, transparency, ingredient origins, and recipe suggestions.
  • Social Media QR Codes - ideal for brands that advertise new products and promotions through social media and want to interact with their consumers.
  • Feedback QR Codes - great for placing a QR code on packaging to see how you can improve your quality and ingredients.
  • Email QR Codes - fantastic for questions regarding customer service, returns or suggestions. 
  • SMS QR Codes - amazing for information that is necessary in an already prewritten SMS message. This code works everywhere as it requires no internet connection. Great for reporting an expired product. 
  • vCard QR Codes - the easiest way for sharing specific contact information to a customer service or logistics department on wholesale packaging.
  • Plain Text QR Codes - best for making discount codes for seasonal or limited-time promotions. These codes are static and cannot be changed.
  • Bulk QR Codes - perfect for making many codes at one time with static, dynamic, and one-off options.
Supercode different types of QR codes

2. Create a code

Creating a code on Supercode is easy and takes seconds. Choose the type, the link or the content to include and click on save when you are ready. 

create a QR code on Supercode QR code generator platform

3. Modify the design 

Create the QR code to match your branding guidelines and make your code attractive for customers. 

modify design of a QR code on Supercode QR code generator platform

4. Add your QR code to a folder to organize your workspace

Add customizable categories for new folders in the Supercode dashboard. Or, add your new QR code to a preexisting folder, both of which you can share with your marketing and management teams. 

save QR codes to different folders on Supercode platform

5. Test the code

Scan the code by directing your phone camera on it and check if all the content displayed is correct. To make changes, simply go back to the dashboard and edit the code. 

bright colourful QR codes generated on Supercode platform

6. Print the code

Make it stand out and encourage customers to click with special offers and incentives.

Supercode QR code printed on a business card

7. Track analytics

Visit the analytics dashboard to get more information about how your QR codes are performing. 

Supercode analytics dashboard with QR code scans performance

Learn how to make QR codes in bulk with our Bulk QR code generator here.

Best Practices of Using QR Codes on Food Packaging

1. Transparency in the supply chain

Starbucks Coffee has placed QR codes on the back of their store-bought coffee beans to increase transparency throughout the supply chain. Now consumers can see where the coffee was grown and can see the tracing from farmer to distributor. Starbucks has been able to trace every bag of coffee beans through the supply chain for the last twenty years and now that information is available to consumers, building trust in transparency.

a phone with information about coffee
Image source: Stylus

2. Provide relevant information

Hershey's has incorporated QR codes on their packaging with nutritional information, ingredient listings, artificial flavor advisements, and allergen warnings in a more detailed way than could be stated on smaller paper packaging depending on the item size. 

a small qr code on hershey-s peanut butter cookies packaging
Image source: brandchannel

3. Give rewards for complementary products

Kellogg's Cereals and Green Mountain Coffee ran a campaign where the cereal consumer could scan a QR code and send a picture of three cereal box receipts to them and receive a free Green Mountain Coffee 12-pod pack. This is an easy way for consumers to send information through technology rather than paper mail and easier for companies to track what promotions have already been given to whom.

Kellogg’s QR code on product packaging
Image source: Walmart

4. Add mobile games to packaging

Heinz Ketchup gave an added bonus to their food packaging to drive sales. When consumers know that there is an extra involved, it makes the item that much more valuable. On this bottle, Heinz offered a family game of Trivial Pursuit when scanning the QR code on the label. At restaurants this helps consumers "pass the time" while waiting for their food. When scanned, the QR code also offered optional, customizable discounts based on location in addition to the exciting game. This increased customer loyalty because there are discounts they can't get anywhere else and they added something more. It also increases activity in the restaurants which keep customers returning, as opposed to a restaurant without fun games to pass the time. 

 A qr code on Heinz ketchup bottle
Image source: The Digital Nirvana

5. Get ahead of regulation changes

Laws constantly get passed in various countries around the world in terms of food packaging, transparency, safe food handling, and now contactless procedures. Introducing QR codes to your packaging now with relevant information will get you ahead of changing marketing strategies and updating packaging later. Supercode's dynamic QR codes can be optimized at any time to change necessary information, making it simpler for you to modify later instead of designing and printing new labels later on.

a black and white QR code on food packaging
Image source: Duluth News Tribune

6. Give out prizes to drive brand loyalty

The Irish produce company Fyffes, placed QR codes on individual packaging such as stickers on bananas. The company allowed consumers to collect points and cash them in for prizes like tickets to the local zoo, to build brand loyalty.

QR code sticker on bananas
Image source: Puca


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