If you were to buy 1 million RFID inlays (just the transponders, no labels), they would cost you approximately 7 cents apiece. You could put them in bags of rice, but you might require a protective layer that would add a bit to the price. That might not be necessary—you would need to conduct some testing to determine that. I do know that Monsanto has been utilizing RFID to track bags of seed (see Monsanto Hopes to Sow Benefits by Tagging Seed Packets).
There are a few things to consider. First, tag price affects return on investment. If you were to spend 7 cents per tag and receive 10 cents in savings, that would be worth doing. If you spent one penny per tag and achieved no benefit, however, it would not.
The second thing to consider is how you would want to use the tags. If you attempted to read them as bags of rice were loaded onto a truck, or as they were stacked onto a pallet, you might be able to read each tag every time. If you wanted to walk into a warehouse containing hundreds of thousands of bags of rice and read every tag, however, that would not be possible. Even though rice is RF-friendly, the bags’ density would make it unfeasible to read tags buried beneath multiple bags of rice.
Good luck with your RFID efforts—and if you have any additional questions, feel free to e-mail me.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
Can the Same Data Be Written to Multiple Tags? »