15 June 2022

REWE creates more transparency for organic milk and meat

Customers now have the opportunity to find out more about the origin and individual production stages of REWE Bio meat and milk. A QR code on the packaging makes it possible. Buyer Dr. Carolin Winkel on the background.
Reading time: 4 min.

Where does my steak come from? Where was the meat processed, packaged and sold? These are questions that are crucial for more and more consumers. REWE is now making it easy to obtain transparent information about the origin of products – by means of a QR code on the packaging. Selected dairy and meat products will be the first. Carolin Winkel, Buyer Merchandise Ultrafrische 2 at REWE Group, explains in an interview how this works and what it brings.

Ms Winkel, you would like to provide customers with more information about origin. Why?

Nowadays, origin, provenance, regionality and traceability of food play an increasingly important role in our customers’ purchasing decisions. The Corona crisis has further strengthened this trend. Studies such as the Forsa Nutrition Report from 2021 show that the origin of the raw material even beats the price as a purchase criterion in some product groups. Especially with meat and dairy products, more and more people want to know exactly where the products come from and how they were processed. For this reason, our customers can now easily access this information via QR code for meat and milk from the REWE Bio private label.

Portrait of Dr. Carolin Winkel.
Carolin Winkel

is Buyer Ware Ultrafrische 2 at the REWE Group.

How exactly does that work?

First, the QR code on the product packaging must be scanned and then the batch or LOT number entered. As a result, the product-specific information is displayed and the individual production stages along the value chain of the product up to its point of origin are revealed. This is additional information that we cannot include on the packaging to this extent due to the limited space.

More transparency: information on the origin can be accessed by scanning the QR code

Mandatory origin labelling already exists for many foods. What is the difference?

In contrast to the information on origin and provenance on a package, transparent traceability records the supply chain of the foodstuffs, which can be used to gradually trace back to the origin. Put simply, you could say: Who did what where with a product? For example, in the case of a REWE organic beef rump steak, the farms where the animal was slaughtered, cut up and processed are transparent and visible down to the last batch. The farming method is also indicated.

Who deposits the relevant information?

REWE uses the “fTRACE” platform for this service. The technology obtains the information on the individual articles directly from our suppliers, who enter it into the system daily and just in time. In addition, data from external databases, such as the QS inspection system for food safety and the Animal Welfare Initiative, are stored. This guarantees a high and reliable data quality and an automatic comparison of the data for plausibility checks.

What advantages does the system offer REWE?

Traceability and supply chain transparency promote trust in products. Of course, this also helps us as a retailer, among other things in differentiating our own brands from the competition.

Why is REWE starting with the two product groups milk and meat?

Especially with animal products, there is a great desire from our customers for transparency of origin. For this reason, milk and meat from REWE Bio were selected as the first products for traceability labelling. In the course of the pilot project, a total of about 36 REWE Bio meat and 2 REWE Bio milk products will be integrated in the coming weeks.

What are the plans for the expansion of the offer?

Depending on whether and how the offer of additional information is accepted, it is conceivable that this will be extended to other articles in the future.

*Update (28.04.2023): The pilot has now ended, which means that the QR codes will also be successively removed from the products.