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Germany: Netto wins Gold for its innovative Private Label brands packaging system

Discount Retail Chain Netto Marken-Discount (owned by German market leader EDEKA) is the first European food retailer to use a machine-readable packaging system and thus digitize its entire process chain. For this, after winning the German Packaging Award on September 24th, Netto Marken-Discount was also awarded the coveted Gold Award at the German Packaging Award 2020 in the digitization category.

With this innovative technology, Netto Marken-Discount succeeds in further expanding its digital pioneering position in the industry environment and at the same time advocating more sustainable recycling processes. Digitization and sustainability have long been an integral part of the corporate culture at Netto Marken-Discount.

This year, the German Packaging Prize 2020, the largest European performance competition on the subject of packaging, will be awarded for the first time in the digitization category. Innovative winner: The Gold Award of the German Packaging Prize in the new category is given to Netto Marken-Discount for the digitization and optimization of its packaging system and the entire process chain. With the help of invisible "Digimarc barcodes", which are integrated into the packaging design and - unlike the visible, conventional barcodes - are often printed on all sides of the packaging of Netto private label items, the products can be scanned from every side. This makes the processes along the entire value chain from packaging production, logistics and storage, the checkout and purchasing process to the recycling of packaging significantly faster and easier.

Digital recycling

At the same time, the "Digimarc barcodes" contain uncomplicated access to detailed product information. This simplifies all steps in the process chain and ensures a more sustainable recycling advantage: The coding contains precise information about the packaging material used, the type of product and its origin. This could significantly simplify the machine sorting from the "yellow plastic waste sacks" in the future. Packaging made of several materials can also be fed into the correct value stream. In storage and logistics, the information is used to digitally control and check the products. The invisible codes also simplify the inventory for branch employees and customers can conveniently access the item information by scanning with their smartphone. The entire process chain is thus becoming more digital and more customer-friendly.

"We are delighted with the gold award, which shows our pioneering role for digital technologies in the industry. Our goal is to use digital innovations to simplify work processes for our colleagues and our customers, to further improve the shopping experience for our customers and to improve our product range overall to be more sustainable" says Christina Stylianou, Head of Corporate Communications at Netto Marken-Discount.

With the advanced packaging system, Netto Marken-Discount also makes a significant contribution to industrial automation and underlines its more sustainable packaging strategy and customer orientation. And Netto Marken-Discount will continue to drive technological progress in the future: Netto Marken-Discount has already equipped more than 3,000 different own-brand items with the innovative barcodes. By March 2021, all packaging of Netto private label assortment should be provided with the invisible codes.

Netto Marken-Discount, with over 4,270 branches, around 78,000 employees, 21 million customers per week and a turnover of 13.5 billion euros, is one of the leading food grocery sector in Germany. With around 5,000 SKUs and a focus on fresh products, Netto Marken-Discount has the largest selection of groceries in the discount landscape. As a premium partner of the free DeutschlandCard, Netto customers benefit from the multi-partner bonus program with every purchase. The assumption of responsibility is part of Netto corporate culture - the trading company focuses on four main areas: social engagement, fair cooperation with employees and suppliers, careful use of resources and the alignment of the purchasing strategy with sustainability aspects. Netto is a partner of WWF Germany: In addition to expanding and promoting the more sustainable private label range, Netto is also working on eight key issues to further reduce its own ecological footprint. With around 5,100 trainees, the company is also one of the most important training companies in the German retail sector and prefers to fill management positions with committed employees from its own ranks.

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