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A third of new product data is inaccurate, says GS1 UK

As the productDNA data-sharing platform celebrates its first birthday, the not-for-profit standards organisation has found that one in three products fails the independent physical check which validates the accuracy and consistency of product data

London, 1 May 2019 - Launched exactly one year ago today, the productDNA platform is a single catalogue of high-quality product data that can be shared with multiple grocery retailers, using an industry-agreed set of attributes and a common data definition for each type of product.

Part of the service includes a physical check of the weight, dimensions and on-pack information of the products entered into the system, carried out by an independent third party, XPO Logistics. It is at this point that brands have come unstuck, misidentifying the products they trade, potentially leading to issues when the data is consumed by retailers’ systems.

Gavin Williams, managing director, supply chain – UK and Ireland at XPO Logistics, said: “GS1 standards are critically important to grocery supply chains in establishing consumer trust. 

“While the compliance checks we perform are helping to improve traceability, they also show that the industry has room for improvement. We look forward to continuing to partner with GS1 UK to drive standardisation in product data recording.”

Brands seeing the benefits

Brands both large and small have already begun to reap the rewards of the productDNA platform.

When used to its fullest potential, the process ensures improved efficiency and better confidence in the quality of data being provided to retailers. 

In the 12 months that Nestlé have been using the productDNA platform, they have taken new line submission times down from 15 minutes to just five minutes – an efficiency saving of 67 per cent.

David Hix, supply chain director at Nestlé, commented: “Our current catalogue is seamlessly connected to productDNA, using the Global Data Synchronisation Network, making the platform incredibly easy to use. By reducing the time spent manually inputting and amending product data, we now have more time to highlight the unique qualities of our products – supporting future retail.”

Talking about the difficulties of managing product data from an SME perspective, Hugh Duffie, co-founder of cold brew coffee firm, Sandows, said: “For us, this solution was a way to unite all of that data in one place and send it to retailers as and when we need to, in a much more efficient way.”

Greater efficiencies for retailers

Solving issues around inconsistent and inaccurate product data has been acknowledged as an industry-wide problem in need of an industry-wide solution.

That is why retailers and brands, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, P&G, Unilever, L’Oreal, itsu [grocery], Mondelez, Pepsico, Waitrose, Nestlé, and Ocado, came together to develop productDNA and continue to be involved in the platform’s ongoing success.

Andy Beale, head of product and programmes global at Tesco, said: “We've put a huge amount of work into getting product data right at Tesco, and productDNA is one of the outcomes. By working with the industry as a whole, we have been able to solve the problem of delivering high-quality product information to our customers more efficiently.

“We are already reaching out to our suppliers to recommend productDNA as Tesco’s preferred product data sharing platform, and we will continue to promote the solution to ensure our shoppers have the detail they need to make easier purchasing decisions.”

Gary Lynch, chief executive officer of GS1 UK, added: “Over the past year, the uptake of productDNA has shown us just how important accurate and consistent product data is to brands, retailers and consumers alike.

“Whether you are uploading attributes to a centralised database or want to know more about the product you are buying from a dietary, environmental or religious perspective, the time was right for a retail revolution.”

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About GS1 UK

GS1 UK is a community of more than 38,000 members working in retail, foodservice, healthcare and more. GS1 UK is one of 112 independent, not-for-profit GS1 organisations operating across 150 countries worldwide. GS1 UK helps everyone involved in making, moving and trading goods to automate and standardise their supply chain processes using the common language of GS1 global standards.

For further information or requests for interviews, please contact Tim Haidar: 020 7092 3584 /

About productDNA

productDNA is a single catalogue of high-quality, independently verified data that enables retailers and brands to use one shared language to describe and manage product data. To find out more about productDNA, visit us at, or contact our team directly via or on 0203 318 0633.