UK environmental secretary Steve Barclay has put forward proposals for legislation requiring labelling for dairy, meat and poultry food products.

A consultation process has investigated how to improve the transparency of ingredient source information. Proposed initiatives include production labelling and country of origin labelling.

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This is in response to UK government measures to support farmers and promote fairness throughout the value chain.

QR [quick response] codes on packaging are increasingly preferred by consumers for product information, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData consumer analyst Ramsey Baghdadi commented: “Trust is a key aspect of consumer product choices across the UK. It is, therefore, important for brands to clearly communicate the details of the production journey, including the origin and production methods.

“If the labelling policies proposed by Steve Barclay are actioned, it will be a reasonable win for local manufacturers, as over a third (38%) of UK consumers find products tailored to region and culture essential or nice to have. However, this would not significantly leverage sales for farmers, as it does not tell a detailed story of the supply chain journey.”

A survey conducted by GlobalData found that more than half (56%) of UK consumers claimed that they would find it extremely, quite or slightly useful if the point of origin and sustainability information could be accessed via a QR code on the packaging.

Baghdadi concludes: “Steve’s policies will be a positive step in making a more transparent supply chain. However, even more could be done with digitised solutions such as QR codes to reflect modern consumer behaviours and reliance on smartphone technology.

“In the long term, brands should use digital channels to communicate product information on-pack, as shoppers often use smartphones to browse information before their purchase. This will offer opportunities to ensure consumer-brand trust by learning detailed facts about production and locality.”