Asda, Tesco and Makro are among retailers and suppliers calling for others in the industry to sign up to a global standard for product classification, which promises to shave millions off their supply chain costs.
Directors from Unilever, P&G, Kraft Foods, Gillette and Masterfoods are also urging companies to join the Global Data Synchronisation Network.
This would mean the same standardised data is used on all products. At present, the information flashed up when products are scanned differs according to the retailer.
Furthermore, international companies would not have to use different codes for different customers and countries.
Sally Herbert, president of GDSN, said that synchronised data would eliminate many manual processes from store operations, such as retailers having to key in any product change information from a supplier themselves.
The system would also improve operational efficiency and the shopping experience, added Herbert, as there would be error-free scanning taking place at the front end, as well as improved shelf tag accuracy for price comparisons.