Cash registers will have to monitor product expiration dates: why is it necessary and which products will it affect?

Cash registers at retail chains will be forced to collect expired products.

Photo: Ivan MAKEEV

The cash registers of retail chains will be “forced” to collect expired products and other goods that, if strictly by law, should not reach the buyer. The system was recently tested in one of Moscow’s chain stores by a whole delegation of government officials, including Deputy Head of the Government Cabinet Alexey Uvarov and Deputy Head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Ekaterina Priezzheva. We were satisfied: it works! We try to find out what kind of happiness should fall to the consumer and when it will be possible.

WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

In Russia, since 2019, a product labeling system has been gradually introduced. A special QR code is applied to the product. Using the “Honest Sign” system, it allows you to track the path of the goods from the manufacturer to the counter. And at every stage, make sure that nothing illegal happens with this product.

Currently labeled: dairy products, bottled water, medicines, tobacco, beer, shoes, light industrial products, fur coats, tires, perfumes, cameras. An experiment is being carried out on marking caviar.

So far, the system has served rather to improve tax collection: all the “leftist” schemes with those products subject to labeling became immediately evident. The consumer could also obtain information about the product by scanning the code with their smartphone. But while walking around the store, it is not so easy to analyze the information received and understand what it means, few heroes are able to do this.

Now they want to “tweak” the system so that the consumer can benefit from it without doing anything at all. The box will do everything. The software in it is configured in such a way that in certain cases the cash register simply blocks the sale of goods – the cashier receives a warning and cannot process the receipt.

WHAT “PROHIBITION” ARE WE SAVED FROM?

These are, first of all, expired and counterfeit products (such as milk with the famous palm oil, without indicating the vegetable fats in its composition) that somehow ended up on the counter. As explained by the Center for the Development of Advanced Technologies (CRPT), which is the operator of the “Honest Sign” system, authentic retail chains have taken all necessary measures to ensure that such products do not exist on their shelves. But until now it was impossible to exclude the “human factor”, especially at high speeds. That is, some tired employee on the sales floor does not remove the expired product from the shelf in time.

“The use of payment mechanisms at checkouts completely eliminates the serious risk to the reputation of commercial organizations and gives customers confidence that they are completely protected from purchasing a low-quality product,” says Revaz Yusupov, Deputy Director General of CRPT.

An important point: unfortunately, the cash register can only collect “expired” items in this way from those products that are subject to labeling. That is, it does not recognize stale sausages: meat and sausage products are not marked in the “Honest Sign” system. But expired dairy products will not pass the checkout process at the checkout.

DO “STOP CHECK” ALREADY WORK?

So far, the system has been tested as a voluntary experiment, which took place from February 1, 2023 to August 1, 2023, for certain types of dairy products, including those intended for children, bottled beverages and mineral water, beer and some low alcohol content. -Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. As reported by the press service of the CRPT, more than 30 federal and regional retail chains, as well as some non-chain stores, joined the experiment. And as a result, sales of all kinds of “bad things,” including expired products, decreased by a quarter nationwide (for those product categories tracked in the “Honest Sign”). Those sales are expected to drop to zero for labeled products as the system expands to all stores.

For now, the technology continues to be used on a voluntary basis and is being developed further. It is important that the system works perfectly everywhere, and not in the same way that we have already seen when introducing similar innovations: cursing the cashier, whose “something is stuck” and discontent with the queue.

A draft resolution has been prepared, but not yet adopted, according to which such a system will be introduced compulsorily, but in stages, taking into account the characteristics of different products and technical preparation. The first phase could begin this spring.

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