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Food safety: the next frontier for RFID

In case you missed this week’s issue of RFID 24-7, we’ve posted it here:

The retail industry continues to embrace RFID technology. Sales gains, operational efficiencies and a reduction in shrink have been well documented, and 2012 is expected to be a breakthrough year as major retailers cue up the technology for deployment.

RFID in retail is expected to become ubiquitous within 12 to 36 months. As Macy’s Chief Administrative Officer Tom Cole told me during last month’s NRF Big Show, “in a few years we’ll be talking about something else, because we’ll all be doing this.” (Click here to view RFID’s coverage of the Big Show.)

With that in mind, RFID 24-7 set out to identify the next big market for RFID.

Clearly, food safety appears to be a sweet spot for the technology. Just as RFID provides increased inventory visibility for retailers, the technology can track food items in similar fashion, making food recalls easier to track and therefore limiting related illness. Big opportunities exist in the food supply chain from farm to fork, including monitoring temperature and humidity as food makes it way to retail outlets.

More than one-third of produce spoils before it reaches the shore shelf, representing an economic loss of an estimated $35 billion. RFID could put a big dent in that number.

In a sure sign of that food safety could be the next big ticket for RFID technology, retail RFID guru Bill Hardgrave recently told me that he is shifting the focus of his research to food safety.

“I’m still very much involved in retail apparel, but I think food safety is the next big frontier for RFID,” says Hardgrave, the former founder and director of the RFID Research Center at the University of Arkansas, and now Dean of the College of Business at Auburn University. “There is so much opportunity to improve on the food supply chain.”

Click here to read the entire article.

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