It's Your Money: Smart Supermarkets - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

It's Your Money: Smart Supermarkets

MADISON (WKOW)--Karen LaFlamme has two children, a husband and her father to feed.   She wants to be careful with what crosses her table, avoiding anything contaminated.

"I would feel terrible, because, especially with my dad that's elderly, so I want to be sure that the food my whole family eats is safe," she says.

So, she's excited to hear that supermarkets are making use of some pretty advanced technology to make sure what you buy is safe.

Take product labels for example.   The bar code prevents a sale that may be dangerous.

Unsafe temperature changes that can cause contamination change the color.

"These 2 bars change and this makes the bottom bar code not readable any longer and the top bar code becomes readable so when you scan this at the checkout counter instead what you come up with is error, bad product," says University of Rhode Island researcher Brett Lucht.

Other labels are being tested that will protect you after the sale--literally warning you of food contamination in your own refrigerator.

Then there are labels designed not to stop a sale, but to make one, with computerized messages promising free prizes.  Experts say the labels of the future will also emit an odor, encouraging you to buy.

"If you got coffee, they'll send out the coffee aroma when they sense you're coming by," says Idtechex chairman Peter Harrop.

Other innovations: electronics that include reusable and programmable labels which can change prices in seconds, and more.

"That will be talking to you when you touch it, in addition to giving you print that may scroll like on your computer to give you instructions in whatever size font you want," says Harrop.

Then there are more basic developments which could be critical to your safety.

Using grocery loyalty card information, some national grocery chains are using information tracked through sales to contact customers about food recalls.


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