To Scan or Not to Scan: The Question of Consumer Behavior and QR Codes on Food Packages

We conducted a field experiment involving the purchase of oysters to offer market-based evidence on whether consumers will scan quick response (QR) codes on food packages, a new labeling technology proposed by the SmartLabelTM initiative. In an artefactual marketplace selling oysters, only 1.2% participants scanned the QR code labels with their own devices. However, providing free access to a QR-scanning smartphone induced 52.6% of participants to access labeling information—a large improvement even compared to when this information was provided directly on the package. Furthermore, consumers’ responses to the additional information were similar regardless of how the information was delivered.
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Li, Tongzhe; Messer, Kent D., To Scan or Not to Scan: The Question of Consumer Behavior and QR Codes on Food Packages, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Volume 44, Issue 2, May 2019, Pages 311–327

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