GS1 Australia is collaborating with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to develop the ‘Branded Food Database’, which will serve as a central source of nutrient content for brand-specific foods and beverages sold in Australia.
Consumers will access the database to make more informed decisions about the products they buy. The database will also support public health initiatives such as the Health Star Rating system and the Healthy Food Partnership.
The initial focus is on packaged food and non-alcoholic beverages, but alcoholic beverages are also in scope and FSANZ is very much interested in receiving product master data for wine, beer and spirits.
FSANZ interim CEO Dr Sandra Cuthbert said, “The database will deliver benefits to consumers, industry, health professionals and policy makers by providing a ‘single source of truth’ containing credible product information, which is accurate, comprehensive and updated regularly.”
Brand owners will provide the information relative to their products, rather than alternative approaches relied on by other databases. The goal is to have 85% of all packaged food and beverage products sold by national retailers, loaded and available by 2023.
“We are delighted to be part of this significant partnership that will help to inform consumers about the food they buy; and assist brand owners and retailers to get this product information in front of their customers,” said Maria Palazzolo, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of GS1 Australia.
“Having hosted and managed an industry database for over 25 years, we are glad we could lend our expertise in the capture and storage of product master data to FSANZ and our industry partners.”
The database will leverage decades of work already invested in the GS1 Australia program, the National Product Catalogue and the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN), an industry-driven tool used throughout the world to share product master data between brand owners and retailers and drive supply chain and merchandising efficiencies.
GS1 Australia will not only host the data and facilitate the collection and loading of product information from brand owners, but will also undertake a range of comprehensive data quality measures, including in-store product data audits, to ensure the accuracy and timelines on the database ensuring the data can be relied on by consumers and industry stakeholders alike.
Other similar initiatives are taking place around the world. In the US, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Services has partnered with GS1 US to deliver food product data from manufacturers and suppliers using the same GS1 GDSN standards. Similarly, New Zealand Food Safety, a business unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), has partnered with GS1 NZ to capture branded food product data.
Palazzolo said: “Once we have this valuable tool built and populated with the majority of items consumers can buy, we believe there will be many other tools such as nutrition apps that can bring this data directly to consumers and that’s where the value is really delivered.”
GS1 Australia and FSANZ have already begun reaching out to key stakeholders. More detailed communications will be released in the lead up to Christmas and a focused industry engagement program will begin in January 2022.
The Branded Food Database has been funded by the Department of Health as part of its food and nutrition related initiatives. To discuss your participation email firstname.lastname@example.org.