United Natural Foods to Offer Retailers Innovative Smart Shelf Tags to Better Engage Consumers, Improve Product Transparency and Help Drive Purchase Decisions October 31, 2022

United Natural Foods to Offer Retailers Innovative Smart Shelf Tags to Better Engage Consumers, Improve Product Transparency and Help Drive Purchase Decisions

United Natural Foods, Inc. announced a new agreement with Cornerstone for Natural™ to bring their Smart Shelf Tag program to UNFI’s suppliers and retailers. Smart Shelf Tags contain ELi QR Codes, an enhanced, more secure version of a QR code, which can be scanned to provide shoppers with additional product information and rich digital content on their mobile phones without requiring an app. Smart Shelf Tags are an innovative and versatile program for suppliers and retailers to engage and educate consumers while they’re shopping in-store.

As consumer demand for product information and insights grows, UNFI is working to increase access to additional information and provide product transparency on the shelf. Because most in-store shoppers consult their mobile phones about products, these Smart Shelf Tags are designed to engage shoppers with targeted content direct from suppliers while they’re physically shopping in the grocery aisle. In addition, the tags increase product transparency, create a touchpoint between suppliers and shoppers and can help grocery retailers build consumer loyalty and trust.

While the ELi QR Codes used on Smart Shelf Tags look like familiar QR codes, they are more secure. They not only provide a scannable code, they also incorporate the back-end content to which users are directed. The content for an ELi QR Code is sourced from the supplier, automatically populates for each individual UPC and may include promotional offers, nutrition and allergen information, testimonials, traceability information, brand stories, videos and images. Retailers never have to source, manage or update content and the codes are automatically printed on the tags. Cornerstone has built more than 120,000 ELi QR Codes, thousands from prominent consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and new and emerging brands alike.

Consumers have shown that they value information when selecting a brand and will remain more loyal to brands that provide greater transparency. Certain product categories are a natural fit for Smart Shelf Tags, especially those from which consumers seek more information before deciding on a purchase: vitamins and supplements, wine and spirits, gourmet cheese, natural and organic products, functional foods, local items and those from new and emerging CPGs.

“UNFI is excited to enable better transparency and communication between our suppliers, retailers and shoppers,” said John Raiche, Executive Vice President of Supplier Services & Merchandising at UNFI. “Consumers have shown that they care about the values and beliefs of the brands they purchase and with Smart Shelf Tags, suppliers can communicate directly with shoppers about their products and tell the stories behind their brands.”

Offering innovative solutions that leverage technology and help optimize grocery retail businesses is a core part of UNFI’s strategy. Through its Professional Services portfolio, UNFI offers a variety of tools and solutions that help retailers drive store traffic, save time and money, reinvest in their businesses and enhance shoppers’ overall experience.

“Retail is changing, and we need to change with it,” said David Williams, Cornerstone’s EVP of Business Development. “Retailers and brands need to work together to engage and educate their shoppers and our smart shelf tags provide this unique opportunity, helping with decision-making at a key point of purchase in the store.”

UNFI Professional Services offers the most comprehensive suite of services and solutions for grocery retailers in the market today. With more than 150 customizable solutions, UNFI Professional Services helps grocery retailers succeed by reducing operating costs, driving traffic, increasing basket size and enhancing the customer experience. Services offered include pricing support, in-store shelf management, planograms, POS and cashier-less checkout technology, store remodels and much more, helping retailers keep pace with the changing landscape of grocery and stay focused on what matters most: delighting customers to win in the market.

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