Tesco Lotus, the hypermarket chain in Thailand, has reported successful usage of QR code technology on its range of food products.

With grocery home shopping now available in the three largest cities in the country, which have a combined population of around 16 million people, the retailer is looking at ways it can continue to drive the business forward in a multichannel world.

Clubcard is now online in Thailand and Lotus has recently launched a new app to make home shopping easier, as a growing number of people use smartphones in various aspects of their lives.

Writing on the Tesco Talking Shop blog, Pornpen Nartpiriyarat, head of trading law & technical at Tesco Lotus, said that using technology in the retailing process is particularly important in tech-savvy nations such as Thailand. It is an ambition of the company to bring good food and new technologies to its customer base.

"One of the most visible and recent signs of this combination of food and technology is the QR codes we're now putting on our products in Tesco Lotus stores," explained Nartpiriyarat.

"They allow customers to see exactly where their food has come from – which farm and which batch – as well as nutritional information and recipe ideas to help customers to balance their diet; all with a quick scan from a smartphone."

The QR codes give consumers an opportunity to trace Tesco Lotus products straight to the farm, and Nartpiriyarat believes this transparency gives shoppers confidence in the products on sale.

Pork and chicken products are the latest ranges to have QR codes on their labels, adding to the 60 fresh produce lines started last year. Around 80% of Lotus's pre-packed fruit, vegetables and meat have the codes, and this will be rolled out to meat and produce, eggs, frozen food and bakery ranges.

"They're popular with customers because they're fun, informative and easy to use," said Nartpiriyarat.

"But they also provide a fundamental level of reassurance about the quality, safety and freshness of the food we sell; by connecting our customers and the products they purchase to the start of the supply chain."

Despite an initial buzz surrounding the use of QR code technology when smartphones first started to penetrate the telecoms market, not all retailers actively use them to boost customer engagement.

Shop Direct eCommerce director, Jonathan Wall, told Essential Retail last year that the creative team at his company were not keen to have them displayed in catalogues, which has led the firm to go down a route of trialling image-scanning technology instead, although he admits there isn't a huge appetite for using this type of technology online.

In a store environment, however, Tesco evidently sees the benefits of using QR codes for interacting with its increasingly mobile shopper base. Last Christmas saw the grocer introduce the codes on a number of store windows across the UK to allow customers to find out more information about the festive product range.

Once the code was scanned, the product came to life using augmented reality on the customer’s smartphone, providing options to arrange to click & collect from the same store within 24 hours.