Quick-response codes were unheard of just a couple of years ago, but today shippers are clamoring to stick the two-dimensional matrix barcodes on all kinds of consumer packaging as well as cartons used for in-store displays.
When consumers scan or read a QR code with a smart phone, they can link to digital content on the Web, activate a number of phone functions including e-mail and instant messaging and connect the mobile device to a Web browser, according to the website socialmediaexaminer.com.
Stemilt Growers Inc., Wenatchee, Wash., has been using QR codes on a variety of packaging, including display bins for the company’s Piñata and SweeTango apples, for about a year, said Roger Pepperl, marketing director.
Stemilt created mobile sites for its cherries, apples, pears and packages of its new Lil Snappers kid-size fruit.
The Lil Snappers site has kids’ coloring sheets that consumers can reproduce on their printers.
Rainier Fruit Co., Yakima, Wash., introduced QR codes at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in 2010, said Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing.
The codes are printed on the company’s high-graphic cartons, bags and “anything that the consumer is going to see on the retailer floor,” she said.
They’ve also been added to secondary display bins of cherries and on point-of-sale material for Rainier’s Junami and Lady Alice apples.
The codes take the consumer to a page on the company’s website that has recipes and additional product information.
Eventually, Rainier wants to include information about the firm’s growers, Wolter said.
Hollandia Produce LLC, Carpinteria, Calif., started using the codes in April on containers of the company’s Live Gourmet living lettuce, said Vince Choate, director of marketing.
The codes take consumers to a mobile site that tells about the product and can enable users to visit a website or another mobile site for additional information.
“We’ve had very nice response,” Choate said, especially among younger people.
When Monterey Mushrooms Inc., Watsonville, Calif., launched sustainable mushroom packaging recently, the QR code was there, said vice president Joe Caldwell.
For now, the code takes consumers to the company’s website, but the firm is in the process of setting up a separate page.
QR codes are just being introduced at Naturipe Farms LLC, Naples, Fla., said Dwight Ferguson, president and chief executive officer.
“We’re taking a hard look at it, and starting to introduce it on select products,” he said.
Naturipe is considering putting the codes on shelf talkers and point-of-sale materials as well as packaging.
The code takes consumers to the firm’s website.
Renaissance Food Group, Rancho Cordova, Calif., added a new twist to the QR code when it launched the latest generation of its Chef Essentials product line.
The packaging includes QR technology with recipes and a video showing how to prepare, cook and serve the product, president Jim Catchot said in a news release.
Only a small segment of the population takes advantage of QR codes now, but their numbers are expected to grow, Pepperl said.
Meanwhile, companies can’t go wrong by using them, he said, since they’re inexpensive and easy to implement.
“Why not do it?” he asked. “It’s one more way of attaching to the consumer.”
Choate said many consumers scan the codes on Living Gourmet products, get the company’s telephone number, and then called Hollandia with their questions.
“At least we’re talking to consumers,” he said.