GS1 India’s Smart Consumer App is a product information service launched by GS1 India, in association with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India.
GS1 India is a Standards body whose founder members are the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, FIEO, IMC, APEDA, Spices Board, IIP and BIS. GS1 India’s objective is to improve the efficiency, safety, and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels.
According to the GS1 India website, the App enables consumers to access product information such as, name, date of manufacture, MRP, net content, manufacturer details, and consumer care details, on their smartphones, by simply scanning the product’s barcode. When we tried the App, however, a few products did not have all the information available since apparently it has not been provided by the brand owner/ manufacturer.
The GS1 India site also notes that the FSSAI has asked food companies to publish their FSSAI license numbers along with their products’ best before/expiry date to the Smart Consumer App. Ideally, the FSSAI should make it mandatory for companies to publish all the information that the App is supposed to provide to consumers. Also, based on the experience we had when we tried the App, the FSSAI probably needs to better enforce compliance among companies.
At foodnetindia, we believe that people have the right to know exactly what they are eating, so it’s great to see that the Government is taking steps to ensure that this right can be easily and conveniently exercised. That being said, we feel that the App can be even more useful for consumers if they get complete access to the information about a product’s ingredients, especially information about additives like added colours and preservatives through the existing feature in the app, provided the manufacturers fill the required information.
It might also be a good idea if, in the case of products with extremely small packaging, companies are obligated to publish enlarged images of the ingredients lists and nutrition information.
We at foodnetindia believe that the GS1 India’s Smart Consumer App is a great initiative which, with some additions to the information database, would go a long way in improving consumer knowledge and awareness. This, hopefully, would translate into improvement in food safety practises among the people of India. We definitely recommend that people download and use the App.