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Ont. marketing board offers QR codes for fruit

Growers of tender fruit in Ontario can now get QR codes to attach to their packaging, directing their customers to more information on their products.

The Ontario Tender Fruit Producers Marketing Board on Tuesday launched its new website, which provides QR (Quick Response) codes that producers can request for download for use on their own packaging and marketing materials.

A QR code, a form of bar-coding that can be read by a smart phone or tablet and can be included on a product label or advertising such as print ads or billboards, steers users to certain online information about a product.

Such codes aren’t unheard of in the produce aisle; fruit marketers Chiquita and Del Monte, for example, have already added QR codes to the tiny stickers they apply to bananas.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to access information about tender fruit, whether that’s at the grocery store or on their smart phone device while they’re on the go,” Sarah Marshall, the Ontario board’s manager at St. Catharines, said in a release Tuesday.

“With the many different recipes as well as information on where fruit is available, it’s never been this easy to buy and enjoy local.”

The Ontario board represents growers of peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, seedless coronation grapes and chilled and pitted cherries. Its new site includes separate sections for consumers, growers and "trade use."

The growers’ section is password-protected and contains pricing information, other market information and a new online discussion forum. The trade section provides marketers with recipes, an image gallery and in-store promotional materials.

The consumer section, meanwhile, offers nutritional, storage and handling and production information and recipes, and will automatically switch to a "streamlined" version of the site when accessed through a smart phone, the board said.

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