GS1 will launch its new service, named ProductDNA:hub, in the spring

Twelve major retailers and suppliers are hoping to rule out mistakes in online product information by signing up to a central database.

Businesses including the Co-op, Mondelez, Nestlé, Ocado, PepsiCo, P&G, Sainsbury’s and Tesco will begin using a database created by supply chain standards organisation GS1 in the new year.

GS1 will open up the service, named ProductDNA:hub, to other retailers and suppliers in the spring.

Under the system, suppliers will submit their product data to an online catalogue. They will also send in a sample of their product, which will be checked alongside the data to ensure it is accurate.

Retailers who have signed up to the service will be able to download the verified data for display on their own site.

Jim Dickson, head of GS1’s retail grocery team, said the project should rule out mistakes and discrepancies in online product display.

“We got a number of industry leaders together to understand some of the challenges they faced,” Dickson said. “They said one of the biggest challenges was product data on their website.

“It may be that a new product comes to market and looks slightly different on different sites, or a product might have been reformulated and you may have older information on there.”

Dickson said all of the “big eight” supermarkets were interested in adopting the system, as well as several major suppliers and SMEs.

“For SMEs it means when they are listed with a new retailer it usually consumes quite a lot of time to share that data,” he added. “They are really excited about the opportunity to put their data into a catalogue that will be available to multiple retailers.”