Supply chain standards organisation GS1 this week issued a new charter signed by 12 leading grocery companies, announcing their commitment to move to a single industry solution to transform the way UK grocery retailers and brands manage and exchange product data.

The 12 firms - Co-op, Itsu, L’Oréal, Mondelez, Nestlé, Ocado, PepsiCo, P&G, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Unilever and Waitrose - claimed the move could save more than £200m in costs and lost sales through the development of an industry-wide solution that delivers improved data quality.

The charter is the latest move in the Digital DNA programme launched late in 2016 by leading retailers and brands.

Technology providers 1WorldSync and Alkemics, selected by the GS1 UK Retail Grocery Advisory Board, are working with retailers and suppliers on an end-to-end pilot to enable them to pull data to and from a service using multiple channels.

“The UK retail industry is in many ways a world leader in innovation and execution,” said Gary Lynch, CEO of GS1 UK. “But it has fallen behind other countries in addressing the challenge of poor quality supply chain and product data. This costs the industry millions through inefficiencies and lost sales, and holds back innovation that could improve the customer experience.”

“This is an important step towards the delivery of a new industry-wide service for managing product data,” said Gianluca Branda, associate director, product supply P&G Northern Europe. “Currently, brands provide product information in multiple ways to different retailers and this adds both cost and complexity.”