QR codes, a term derived from the expression “quick-response code,” were first created in 1994 and remained almost unknown to the general public until just a few years ago. Now in just the last year or so, they seem to be showing up everywhere, not just in the United States but globally. Scannable by smart phones, the codes provide a means for consumers to get instant information on products or companies.
Limoneira Co. in Santa Paula, CA, a major grower and marketer of lemons and other produce items, has recently adopted the use of QR codes on its packaging and in its marketing communications. According to a written statement from the company sent to The Produce News Sept. 30, “Limoneira has taken this concept to the next level by creating a viewer-friendly format that accommodates multiple languages for international customers and consumers.”
The statement quotes John Carter, director of global sales for Limoneira, as saying, “Our goal was to create a global message highlighting key aspects of the Limoneira story, essentially a Rosetta Stone for marketing.”
He added, “Since the mobile phone screen is small, we developed symbols and short video clips to enhance communication. This enables the elimination of small ‘web site’ text, and viewers can select content that they are interested in viewing,” including brief subtitles “in their respective language. It is the combination of these elements in an organized fashion that really takes things to the next level versus simply linking to a web site.”
The videos that can be accessed from the QR code link provide information on the Limoneira heritage as well as on food safety, sustainability, the company’s integrated supply chain and its global network.
“Basically, it is traditional marketing and messages,” John Chamberlain, director of marketing for Limoneira, told The Produce News Sept. 30. But the QR technology provides a new avenue for people to access that information.
“It is just trying to get an audience and to make it as easy as possible for them to get the information that they need,” he said. “This is just another way of doing that.” For people “who are mobile … and want to get information quickly,” the QR codes will enable them to access and view the informational videos instantly, in the store or wherever they are. “I think increasingly, especially with a younger audience, you are going to see people using mobile devices.”
The codes will appear “on point-of-sale material in retail locations, in advertising and on our cartons,” as well as in customers’ advertisements, he said.
Currently, the informational videos are available in five languages, soon to be six, and others may be added.
“Now that the base communication vehicle and message have been established, we will continue to expand the application across different packaging, advertising and promotions,” said Mr. Carter in the written statement. “We want to make it as easy as possible to help our customers connect the consumer to the tree.”
Limoneira, which was founded 118 years ago, is “one of the largest vertically integrated lemon suppliers in the United States and one of the largest avocado providers,” said Mr. Chamberlain. “We are a major grower” and also have major interests in real estate and investments in water and energy.