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How Food Manufacturers Can Use QR Codes for GMO Labeling

Genetically modified products have been under the radar for along time now. The fact is that consumers have to know what the ingredients of their foods and meals are.

Whether it has to do with health issues or general interest, this information should be of public knowledge.

That is why the United States Senate has voted to approve a bill, later to be passed on by the House of Representatives, in order to have labels placed on products that are GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms).

The GMO Labeling Bill

VOX’s article on the GMO labeling bill explains that the bill itself will include the following provisions:

  • All food manufacturers will be required to disclose whether they use genetically modified ingredients in the products they sell in grocery stores.
  • But those companies have a choice: They can either put a text statement or symbol directly on the food packaging itself indicating GM ingredients. Or, alternatively, they could include a digital QR code that customers would have to scan with their smartphone if they want to learn about GM ingredients.
  • Smaller companies will also have a fourth option: offering a phone number or URL on the package that consumers can access for more info.

The bill suggests that almost all products will have to contain some sort of disclosure since bioengineering is a crucial part of food manufacturing.

This has led to much controversy due to the fact that there are producers who claim that GMO labeling is unnecessary. Even Senator Bernie Sanders pointed this out.

Although both arguments are legitimate, if the bill gets approved, food producers will have to include the information. The best and most practical way to do so would be to place a QR code on the product’s packaging.

How can you use QR Codes as GMO Labels?

Much like the pros and cons of implementing the GMO labeling bill are being discussed, there are also those who think that QR codes for GMO labeling are a great opportunity, and those who oppose by saying that GMO information should be written explicitly.

Let us focus on what makes QR codes special, instead of detracting from them.

Chances are that the GMO information that a food manufacturer has to include will be relatively extensive. More so, it may clutter the graphic design of the package.

To have QR codes as an alternative to access the product’s ingredients is great since you only have to make enough space to place the code. The minimum size of a QR code is about 1 x 1 cm (0.4 x 0.4 in).

In terms of the actual content, you could just have a QR code linked to a standard piece of writing that consumers can scan to read. But did you know that you can connect a QR code to a page within your website in which you list the food’s ingredients?

You could also create a custom made mobile page an add images to it, or even have a YouTube video showing a unique recipe right next to the required GMO disclosure.

The bill clearly states that “customers would have to scan with their smartphone if they want to learn about GM ingredients”. This means that there is room for food manufactures to make the scanning experience more enticing, while informing and educating their clients.

Instead of thinking solely on GMO, the bill can actually help food companies boost their marketing campaigns by using QR codes. So…

How can you generate a QR Code for GMO Labeling?

First of all, you would have to resort to a QR code manager. You could go for a QR code generator or creator, but these platforms are not as robust as a QR code manager in terms of the sheer amount of features they offer.

QR code managers allow you to generate dynamic QR codes. The dynamic part stands for the possibility to change the content of the QR code as many times as you want without having to reprint it, and therefore the package itself.

Once you find a QR code manager, the process of generating a dynamic QR code is pretty straightforward:

  • Choose where you would like the QR code to redirect to,
  • download it,
  • and place it on your packaging to print it.

QR Code for GMO Labeling

As simple as this is, here are some ideas you can use in order to get the best out of your QR code.

Setting the content of your QR Code

There are many options for you to choose from when setting the link of your QR code. Since the GMO text has to be included, you may want to connect the code to one of the following QR links:

  • Website URL: you can have a page within your website that states the ingredients of your food product. After reading the information, customers can find out more about your brand while on your site.
  • Mobile Page: if you’d rather have a dedicated landing page for your product’s information, you can create your own mobile page. QR code managers offer this possibility; you can insert the text, add images and even links to special content only available after scanning the code.
  • Download File: for further reading, you can have customers download a PDF file with all the GMO details of your product.

Again, these are some of the many QR code redirecting options out there. What makes them special is that they have an underlying purpose aside from educating customers; you will be able to engage with your targeted audience as well.

Downloading your QR Code

It may come as no surprise that QR code managers allow you to download the QR code as a vector graphic file (EPS, PDF or SVG). But since it will be placed on your packaging, the printing quality of the code has to be professional. Plus, you can rescale the code in order to fit the area it will occupy without loosing any detail.

One more thing worth pointing out is that QR codes come equipped with an error correction feature. This allows the code to be readable even if it is partially obscured or slightly damaged. Your packaging outgo to be in pristine conditions, but even if it has a slight indent where the code is, it will still be decodable by a QR code reader.

More on Dynamic QR Codes

Dynamic QR codes came after the standard QR code, now known as a static QR code. These codes could only hold one piece of content once it was set, rendering them useless if the link ceased to exist. This issue led to the evolution of QR code technology, now offering multiple redirecting options that can be changed instantly.

Also, QR codes can be customized. You can change the color scheme of the code, insert your logo and even add rounded corners. Instead of having the ordinary looking QR code, you can have yours stand out from the rest with this unique feature.

Lastly, if you want to know how many times your code was scanned and thus understand if it’s proving successful as a marketing strategy, you can retrieve QR code’s statistics. You can view the information on a daily, monthly or yearly basis; and sort it either by user gender and age.

Thanks, Bill – I mean, The bill

Looking back, the GMO labeling bill, as controversial as it may seem, can actually prove itself as a food manufacturer’s first step into the world of QR codes.

By taking into consideration all the things that make QR codes a great marketing opportunity, the inclusion of your product’s GMO information shouldn’t be a hindrance. Instead, it can help you reach new levels of consumer engagement with unique content via QR codes.

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