Research by GS1 UK, a not-for-profit supply chain solutions and standards organisation, found that the vast majority of shoppers using mobile phone apps to access products information were provided with inaccurate results.
Out of 1,125 scans on 375 randomly selected branded products, only 9% gave information that exactly matched the brand owner-approved data.
Working with suppliers, GS1 has developed a new data management system called TrueSource, which stores the information on thousands of grocery lines.
"We have developed a service that guarantees the information on 17,000 items from 1,000 suppliers is accurate, by obtaining the information directly from the brand owners," said GS1 CEO Gary Lynch.
It was vital information was correct given the increasing number of people using phone apps to check whether a product met specific dietary needs, what its environmental impact was or how it had been sourced, he said.
An app used to check for allergies highlighted the potential hazards that could result from an app returning inaccurate data to the consumer, he added. Some 40% of UK consumers now have special dietary requirements and one in three uses a smartphone, so there was a clear need for apps providing nutritional information, said Lynch. However, the results they returned needed be trustworthy.
Tim Betts, marketing director at Food Contents and Allergies, who developed the 'isitinit' app, which provides allergen and ingredient information on Sainsbury's own-label products, said of the GS1 service: "There are so many app developers in this area that a system of common standards and protocols will be very helpful."
TrueSource will be available to all GS1 members, which include most major UK grocery retailers and suppliers.