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Many shoppers won’t use QR codes to access GMO food label information, study suggests

In 2016, thanks in part to consumer demand, Congress passed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, a federal mandate requiring manufacturers to label bioengineered foods as such.

Industry leaders are now searching for quick and easily accessible methods for sharing information about how and why a product was bioengineered …. One such method is through the use of quick response codes, or QR codes, that allow shoppers to scan a label to access information ….

[Researchers] recently conducted a study of QR codes on food packaging to determine how much additional effort consumers are willing to undertake in the search for product information.

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Results showed that 20% of consumers accessed additional information about the [products] when offered a clickable web link. When offered a QR code, only 1% accessed the information. However, this number jumped to over 50% when a QR scanning device was provided instead of consumers having to use their own mobile device …. [S]tores may want to provide free QR devices.

[University of Delaware economist Kent Messer said:] “[W]hen consumers are offered information via QR codes, many of them may not access it on a regular basis, if at all.”

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