Tesco is to trial radio frequency identity tags to improve availability and stock levels and which could feature on food products to alert staff which items are close to sell-by dates.

The smart chips will relay information as to which products are on their way to the store as well as in the distribution centre or at the factory.

the tag can locate the product, tell when it goes out of date, if it has been paid for and even if it has been recycled by a customer after use.

Tesco IT director Colin Cobain said: “Tagging products will lead to real improvements for both customers and staff, with instant information and improved availability."

For the trial the tags will be attached to packs of Gillette Mach3 razor blades at Tesco's Newmarket Road store in Cambridge.