New Report on Digital Access to Food Information

In 2020, the European Commission introduced the Farm to Fork (F2F) Strategy, aiming to foster a fairer, healthier, and more sustainable food system. Central to the F2F is the provision of clear and accessible information to Europeans, promoting sustainable and healthy diets.

We collaborated with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in a behavioural study investigating the impact of providing access to food information digitally via QR codes. In behavioural experiments, we measured consumers’ willingness to access digital food information via scanning QR codes and how this affected their knowledge about food products. We collected data from more than 3,000 respondents across Spain, Germany, and Bulgaria and participants were either presented with the food information directly through paper labels or via accessing it via a QR code.

Our analysis showed that participants were equally likely to select food products with QR codes as those with paper labels. However, many respondents did not access the digital food information contained in the QR codes, with over a third never scanning them in the first place. Furthermore, participants with QR codes took longer to make choices and were less accurate in reporting product information compared to those with paper labels.

We found that presenting food information via QR codes rather than printed on labels does not effectively inform consumers and actually resultsin lower levels of knowledge about the food they purchase. 

Link to full report: https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC134602