LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — Building upon the industry network that promotes the accurate exchange of product data like weights and dimensions, manufacturers and retailers are now working on ensuring that the product data provided to consumers — particularly nutritional data — is equally as accurate.
This consumer data initiative — known as the GS1 B2C (business to consumer) Alliance — is focused on ensuring that nutritional data supplied to consumers through various electronic means, such as the Internet and mobile phones, is as accurate as the Nutrition Facts provided on the back of product packaging. Currently, product data accessed through smartphones has been found to be wildly inaccurate; according to a study by GS1 UK and the Cranfield School of Management, 91% of mobile bar-code scans returned incorrect product descriptions.
The North American arm of the B2C Alliance was launched last year under the auspices of GS1 US here and GS1 Canada, both non-profit standards groups that issue and manage bar codes. The initiative aims to deliver "authentic information that consumers can trust," said Robert Carpenter, president and chief executive officer, GS1 US, adding that the ultimate system will be global and scalable, accept information from third-party sources, and operate in real time.
Before it gets to consumers, the B2C data will be "standardized" through the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), which has been heretofore used to channel standard B2B (business-to-business) product data from manufacturers to retailers.
The B2C Alliance includes Kroger, Wegmans, Peapod and Loblaw, as well as J.M. Smucker, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble and L’Oreal Canada. It also includes Internet/mobile application providers like ShopSavvy and Scanbuy and technology providers like IBM and Microsoft, among others.