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Avery Dennison Provides RFID System for Food Management

The technology company is offering its Freshmarx intelligent food industry solution, to include RFID deployments with categories aimed at improving food traceability and inventory management, as well as enabling food vending machines and unmanned stores.
By Claire Swedberg
Nov 21, 2018

As the food supply chain evolves, the need for technology to help suppliers and grocers manage inventory has increased. Avery Dennison has been providing intelligence in the supply chain with item-level RFID, as well as offering on-demand labeling to drive food safety and freshness, through a solution known as Freshmarx. The company is now driving the adoption of RFID to automate data capture as food is prepared, packaged, stored, transported and sold to customers. The technology is intended to address the demands of the modern food market, such as allowing omnichannel management and traceability of waste and food donations.

Freshmarx solutions are already in use at dozens of retail and manufacture sites, the company reports, and provides users with a quick and easy way to drive accurate and automated labeling for fresh foods. The firm is also driving RFID use. The company is seeing movement toward RFID in three use cases that prove challenging for the food industry: traceability, inventory accuracy, and convenience store or vending machine management. Avery Dennison is currently in discussions with companies to begin pilots to track food products as they are packaged, distributed and sold at stores.

The Freshmarx system
In the case of traceability, UHF RFID functionality will enable stores and consumers to view data regarding where a product's ingredients originated, when they were packaged and shipped, and when they might expire, explains Julie Vargas, Avery Dennison's head of global RFID market development for food. UHF RFID tags could be attached to cartons, or to individual items of fresh food at a manufacturing site or distribution center, she explains, to manage the collected read data as the tags are interrogated via handheld or fixed readers throughout the supply chain. Information about each product could then be accessed via an RFID reader and printed on a food package, or be linked to a QR code printed on a label, so that users could scan the QR code to access the product's RFID-based history.

The RFID system is expected to boost inventory accuracy in order to prevent food waste, Vargas says, including in ready-to-eat food preparation at stores. Grocers would manage RFID tag reads to identify when a product's expiration date is nearing, and to then alert interested parties, such as store managers, that a particular product should be sold ahead of another, or be used in a ready-to-eat product (such as for lettuce in a sandwich or salad).

Store associates could be spared the time they traditionally would need to spend manually searching store shelves to identify goods that will soon expire. The store could also collect and access the expiration dates of ingredients of a ready-to-eat meal, in order to know what expiration date to print on that meal's label. This results in labor savings and a reduction in food waste, Vargas says.

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