How to Use QR Codes on Food Packaging: The All-In-One Guide

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, omnichannel marketing is on the rise, with QR Codes playing a major role in its execution.

Over the past two years, there’s been a 14.8% increase in consumers’ preference for omnichannel campaigns (Omni).

From achieving brand transparency to increasing customer retention, QR Codes on food packaging opens up plenty of opportunities for the food and beverage industry to thrive.

How to Use QR Codes on Food Packaging: The All-In-One Guide

Seen as a source of innovation to connect the digital and physical worlds, QR Codes on food packaging are a stellar way to connect with consumers and adapt to their ever-evolving needs.

7 ways to use QR Codes on food packaging 

#1. QR Codes to share nutritional information and allergens 

QR Codes on food packaging to share nutritional information and allergens

QR Codes can be used on food packaging to share nutritional information and allergens contained in the product. Consumers can scan these codes while shopping in the aisles and access in-store information to sway their buying decisions. 

According to Label Insight’s report, 94% of consumers say it’s important that the brands they buy from are transparent about what’s in their food and how it’s made. 

#2. QR Codes for food traceability 

QR Codes on food packaging for traceability

Embed QR Codes on food packaging to share your product’s journey from the farm to the store. Allow consumers to trace the origin of your product and its ingredients. This alleviates stress about your product’s authenticity and results in improved brand credibility. 

Statista’s study indicates that 61% of consumers want more transparent information on the origin of a product’s ingredients. 

#3. QR Codes to enhance social media engagement

QR Codes on food packaging for social media engagement

More than 4 billion people around the world now use social media each month, and an average of nearly 2 million new users are joining them every day.

Digital 2020: October Statshot Report

Make your social media handles accessible to consumers via QR Codes on your food packaging. Ask them to post a review and tag your brand online, or direct them to your latest posts for a like and share. Curate fun social media games to boost consumer appeal. 

This improves your brand’s likeability factor, increases social media visibility, and drives repeated purchases.  

#4. QR Codes to share customer service information

QR Codes on food packaging to share customer service information

Utilize QR Codes on food packaging so that consumers can contact customer service at any time – pre-purchase and post. 

Email and SMS QR Codes minimize communication efforts since consumers can send predefined messages to customer service regarding their issue or inquiry. 

#5. QR Codes to collect feedback 

QR Codes on food packaging for feedback collection

Digitize your brand’s feedback collection process by incorporating form QR Codes on your food packaging. Measure customer satisfaction and sentiment. 

Apply consumers’ insights to improve product quality, foster brand loyalty, and increase customer retention. 

#6. QR Codes to display the product catalog 

QR Codes on food packaging to share product catalog

With QR Codes, there’s no limit to how much content you can display to your customers. This reduces printing costs and helps you optimize your marketing spend. 

Showcase your product catalog using PDF or website QR Codes on food packaging. Expose your consumers to various other product offerings from your brand to increase the number of purchases. 

Dynamic QR Codes allow you to upload your updated catalog and reflect the same across all your products. 

#7. QR Codes to share recipes and fun tips

QR Codes on food packaging to share recipes and fun tips

59% of 25- to 34-year-olds head to the kitchen with either their smartphones or tablets.

Think With Google

Capitalize on consumers’ needs for trying out recipes for themselves by printing QR Codes on food packaging. Display your product’s numerous capabilities and nudge them towards making quick purchase decisions.  

QR Codes on food packaging: Things to keep in mind 

#1. Frame with call-to-action 

Add frame with call-to-action to QR Codes on food packaging

Add a frame to your QR Code along with a call-to-action text. Give your QR Code an actionable intent to prompt consumers to scan it. 

Tailor your CTA to be consumer-centric and personalized for quick response times and higher conversion rates. According to HubSpot’s research, personalized call-to-actions convert 202% better than basic ones. 

#2. Size of QR Code 

One of the most common mistakes is printing your QR Code too small, rendering it unreadable by your smartphone. 

The standard size of your QR Code depends on the 10:1 distance to size ratio between your smartphone and the QR Code. This means that the distance between your phone and the QR Code should be ten times the size of your code (in inches). 

For example, if your QR Code is 1 inch in size, it should be scanned from a distance of 10 inches. 

Otherwise, your QR Code’s standard size should be at least 0.4 inch x 0.4 inch (1 cm x 1 cm). This size is suitable for QR Codes on food packaging. 

For iPhone users, QR Code size won’t be an issue anymore. The newest iOS 14 update makes it easier to scan QR Codes even if they’re small in size or wrapped around an object. 

#3. Instructions about scanning QR Codes

QR Code scanning instructions on food packaging to help consumers

Not all consumers are familiar with scanning QR Codes. To make it easier for them, provide brief instructions on your food packaging. 

Make sure that you include details such as the versions of Android (Android 8 and higher) and iOS ( iOS 11 and higher) required to scan QR Codes using their smartphone’s camera. 

If consumers’ smartphones aren’t upgraded to the latest Android or iOS versions, they may need to download a QR Code scanner app. To help them, provide a link to a QR Code scanner app that they can install. 

Here’s how you can scan QR Codes with Android phones without an app.

#4. Brand logo to reinforce branding and trust

QR Codes on food packaging with brand logo

Incorporate your brand’s logo in your QR Code for instant brand recognition. Consistent brand representation increases revenue by 33% (Lucidpress). 

Pam Moore, CEO of Marketing Nutz, states that it takes 5-7 brand impressions for consumers to remember your brand. 

This furthers the need for QR Codes to amplify brand consistency across all campaigns. 

#5. Use dynamic QR Codes

Oftentimes, it’s an immense task to reprint QR Codes for every new campaign rollout. It increases printing costs and has detrimental effects on the environment due to the amount of paper wastage. 

Dynamic QR Codes solve this problem and enable you to modify QR Code campaigns at any time. The new changes are instantly visible on food packaging. 

Better yet, dynamic QR Codes allow you to track the number of scans, the devices used, and their locations. The in-built analysis lets you measure campaign success and determine which channel garners the most traction. 

7 brands that use QR Codes on food packaging 

#1. Hari Ghotra Easy uses QR Codes to share recipes

Hari Ghotra, a celebrity chef, launched his brand of frozen curry sauces called ‘Hari Ghotra Easy’. Each sauce’s packaging contains QR Codes that link consumers to six recipe suggestions. 

The brand aims at helping consumers recreate the Indian flavors at home. Each sauce is free of additives, preservatives, and gluten, suitable for vegetarians, and equipped with recyclable packaging. 

#2. Nutella uses QR Codes to virtually transport consumers

Nutella's QR Codes on limited edition bottles to transport consumers virtually


In collaboration with the Italian National Agency for Tourism, Nutella, manufactured by Ferrero, launched their Ti Amo Italia (I Love You Italy) campaign. 

The campaign’s 30 limited edition Nutella bottles include QR Codes to allow consumers to access a virtual tour of Italy’s historical landmarks such as Venice in Veneto, Cinque Terre in Liguria, and Lake Como in Lombardy, to name a few. 

The purpose of this campaign is to let consumers virtually travel to Italy’s most vibrant locations from the comfort and safety of their homes. 

#3. Tetra Pak used QR Codes to promote sustainability practices

Tetra Pak, a leading food packaging and processing company, used QR Codes on its packaging to educate consumers on its sustainability practices. Consumers could scan the URL QR Code to access games that followed the themes of reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

The campaign achieved 43,397 QR Code scans on packaging, 49, 584 users that played the game, and 513, 951 web page views with an average of two minutes spent on the page. 

#4. Sensei Farms uses QR Codes to provide product information and catalogs

Sensei Farms' QR Codes on product packaging to provide information and catalogs


Sensei Farms, a Hawaiian produce brand, uses QR Codes on its packaging. Shoppers on scanning are guided to the farm’s website to learn more about its range of products and access nutritional information and recipes. 

Sonia Lo, CEO of Sensei Farms, states that the brand’s vision is to inspire wellness in the people of Hawaii. 

QR codes are one of the simple, yet dynamic technologies that will pave the way for a smarter agriculture industry, helping consumers to better connect with their foods and Sensei Ag to better understand customer eating and purchasing preferences.

Sensei Ag 

#5. The Cookie Project uses QR Codes to let consumers contact bakers

The Cookie Project, a New Zealand-based social enterprise, launched its Christmas Cookie Bundle to promote more employment opportunities for citizens with disabilities. 

QR Codes on the back of the cookie bundles direct consumers to information about the baker, along with an option to leave them a message of encouragement. 

#6. Emmi uses QR Codes to educate consumers on its new product 

Emmi, a Swiss dairy brand, uses QR Codes on its good day milk drink. The QR Code unlocks an interactive quiz to engage and educate consumers on the benefits of their drink. 

The quiz attained a completion rate of 94%, with an average time of 2 minutes and 13 seconds spent on the quiz’s landing page. 

#7. Futurity Manufacturing used QR Codes to share event details and merchandise

Futurity Manufacturing's QR Codes on customized bottles


Futurity Manufacturing, a New Zealand-based packaging brand, partnered with The Longline Classic to provide customized bottles to event-goers at their concert. Each bottle featured a QR Code that directed consumers to a website that contained the setlist. It also linked to a map of the site and access to free merchandise, tickets, and VIP experiences. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How many users scan QR Codes on food packaging?

Response Media’s study shows that 92% of consumers want access to transparent information on the product’s labeling. This validates consumers’ need for accessing information by scanning QR codes on food packaging.  

Moreover, 65% of consumers scan QR Codes for financial gain in the form of cashback, rewards, and incentives (Source: Packaging Europe). 

2. How do I print my QR Code? 

After creating your QR Code, you can download it in five formats – SVG, JPG, PNG, EPS, PDF. 

3. How do I create a QR Code for food packaging? 

Step 1: Go to Beaconstac’s QR Code Generator.
Step 2: Select the QR Code type (URL, SMS, Call, Email, vCard, Plain Text).
Step 3: Fill in the required fields. 
Step 4: Customize your QR Code by adding a logo, modifying the eye color and shape, and the background color. 
Step 5: Test the QR Code by scanning it. 
Step 6: Download the QR Code. 

4. What are the benefits of using QR Codes on food packaging?

  1. Scalable
  2. Cost-effective
  3. Technological edge over competitors
  4. Analytics of campaign performance
  5. Direct-to-consumer interactions
  6. Food transparency and authenticity

5. Can I white label my QR Code?

Absolutely. With Beaconstac’s robust QR Code generator, you can use a custom domain, add your logo, and customize your QR Code to represent your brand throughout. 

6. Will QR Codes on food packaging still be relevant in 2021? 

Yes, QR Codes will still be relevant in 2021. Since the global pandemic has altered consumer behavior and attitude, brand managers have adopted digitalized product packaging to adapt to this shift. 

The global smart packaging market is estimated at $5.3 billion, with a growing CAGR of 8% by 2021 (Source: Packaging Europe). Hence, QR Codes are seen as a viable option for creating omnichannel marketing strategies across various business verticals.  

A happy writer with a fascination for technology, a passion for marketing, and a love for good literature.

This blog was originally published on December 31st, 2020 at 12:45 pm

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