Scientists put focus on milk carton QR codes to cut food waste

QR codes can accurately inform consumers on drinkability and dynamic pricing

Much like dot-matrix printers or pay phones, the “use-by” and “best-by” dates printed on milk cartons and gallon jugs may soon become a thing of the past, giving way to more accurate and informative QR codes.

A new Cornell study finds that consumers will use the QR codes – to better depict how long the milk is drinkable and create substantially less agricultural and food waste.

In the US, dairy products are among the top three food groups with the largest share of wasted food, said Samantha Lau, a doctoral student in food science who works in the lab of Martin Wiedmann, the Gellert Family Professor in Food Safety in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“During a two-month study, over 60% of customers purchased milk with the QR code, showing a considerable interest in using this new technology,” Lau said. “This revealed that the use of QR codes on food products can be an innovative way to address the larger issue of food waste.”

“For fluid milk, ensuring quality and accurately portraying an expected shelf life is key, but microbial spoilage is a major contributor to food loss and waste globally”, said Lau.

Image credit- shutterstock

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