Could RFID Replace Bar Codes for Tracking Groceries?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCould RFID Replace Bar Codes for Tracking Groceries?
RFID Journal Staff asked 15 years ago

Do you foresee radio frequency identification ever being a suitable replacement for bar codes in the U.K. grocery sector?

—Name withheld


It's unlikely RFID will ever replace bar codes, period. I do think we will eventually see RFID being used on higher-value, faster-moving goods in grocery stores, yes. But each item will continue to have a bar code as a back-up, in case the RFID tag fails to work for some reason.

RFID technology faces some challenges in the grocery industry, in particular. The goods are often of lower value, and tend to be more difficult to tag. It is hard to place a tag on a watermelon, for instance, because it is mostly water, which absorbs RF energy, thus making it hard for a tag to respond. But as the price of RFID comes down and the technology continues to mature, it will certainly make its way into the grocery industry.

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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