Called productDNA:hub, it enables brands and suppliers to enter their product data into a single database that is verified to ensure its accuracy. While ownership of information and images held on the database will be retained by suppliers, access to it will be provided for retailers.
The new service manages more than 150 industry-agreed attributes for products across the grocery sector. These include physical product data, such as dimensions, weight and volume, as well as ingredients, nutritional values and allergen information.
In July 2017, GS1 UK, the not-for-profit standards organisation, announced that 12 companies, including L’Oréal, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Unilever, Co-op, Itsu, Ocado, Sainsbury, Tesco, and Waitrose, had signed an industry charter committing to adopt the service.
Some of these companies are expected to start implementing it from early 2018 ahead of a full industry launch in spring 2018.
“Retailers and suppliers have spent years wrestling with the challenges of managing and sharing product data and images,” said Gary Lynch, chief executive of GS1 UK, which runs the service.
“Historically, there has been a huge problem with incompatible systems and multiple processes. This has led to inaccurate and unreliable data across the retail sector, which has affected the shopper experience.”
‘Reduce the amount of inaccurate data’
George Wright, commercial director, for fresh food at Tesco, said: “When adopted universally across the industry, productDNA:hub will give retailers increased confidence in the product data they receive, as well as helping to reduce the amount of inaccurate data and increasing the efficiency of our product data processing.”
“Today, every retailer requests our product data in a different format, each using a different process,” said Richard Sadler, customer director at Unilever UK.
“This complexity costs the industry time, money and resources. That’s why productDNA:hub is such an important milestone.”