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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

Reducing food waste is a key challenge for the industry, Vargas says. According to a 2013 report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly 200 million tons of food intended for human consumption are wasted every year. The goal of multiple agencies, as well as companies in the food industry, is to bring that percentage of waste down, in part by better managing supply chain inventory and expirations so spoilage will not occur prematurely.

RFID technology can enable easier access to data about goods that will soon expire, so that they can then be treated as high-priority sales—such as by lowering the price of those items, or by providing incentives for customers to purchase them. Avery Dennison estimates that RFID could reduce food loss at stores by as much as 20 percent.

Freshmarx Task Tracker is a cloud-based digital checklist application that can be customized to manage non-food task execution, such as kitchen processes. In this way, paper logs are eliminated and checklist data is stored digitally and is thus available for analysis to ensure that food processed in a designated area is not contaminated.

Lastly, the Freshmarx Temp Tracker automates temperature monitoring within refrigerators at restaurants and stores to automatically identify if those temperatures fall outside of acceptable parameters. The Freshmarx Temp Tracker sensors, which Avery Dennison released last month, transmit data via a cellular network to the cloud-based server, and can alert individuals to any potential problems.

"Avery Dennison is an 80-year-old company," Vargas says, "with our origins around adhesive labelling," but it has since become a provider of digital identity management products and solutions. "It's an interesting time of disruption for the market," she reports. "We really put an emphasis on food safety, freshness and efficiency."

While retailers try to keep up with consumers' changing needs and the variety of new sales channels, Vargas says, "I think there's incredible potential with RFID" to make channel management easier. Several retailers and food companies are preparing to launch RFID-based pilots, she adds, though these businesses are not yet willing to be named.

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