Since early 2018, Hanoi’s consumers have been able to scan quick response (QR) codes to trace the origins of agricultural products sold at supermarkets and convenience stores. However, the impact of this change has been limited because producers find the system difficult to apply and consumers do not fully trust the codes' authenticity.
Hoa Binh Cooperative in Ha Dong district was one of the first cooperatives to use QR codes to identify their fruits and vegetables. But after just three months, the group stopped using the technology.
Trinh Van Vinh, the cooperative's director, told Kinh Te & Do Thi (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper that the technology requires farmers to keep track of information about their crops and cultivation and then enter it into the software system. Maintaining accurate information with the QR codes takes three to four times the usual efforts than just putting a normal stamp on the packaging to indicate a product's origins.
“After a short trial time, we realised that customers do not really care much about the technology," he said. "Only 1 or 2 out of 10 customers scan the codes so we decided to stop applying it."
Nguyen Tu Linh, a customer of PT Mart in the city's Ha Dong district, told the newspaper that it takes time to get out her smartphone and scan the codes: “Each product has many different stamps and codes with various shapes and sizes," she said. "I can’t distinguish which one is the most accurate."