Interview • 15.03.2023

Digital label - Unpacked in a new way

TareTag makes it possible to display product information even if you bring your own containers.

Unpackaged stores offer their customers the opportunity to buy products in the containers they bring along themselves, thus avoiding packaging waste.

However, much of the information that informs customers about ingredients, origin or brand is lost as soon as they leave the store. TareTag has recognized this problem and developed a possible solution.

Man with gray hair and dark jacket in front of a customer terminal at EuroShop...
Michael Albert is one of the founders and CEO of TareTag GmbH
Source: beta-web GmbH / Matthias Groß

Mr. Albert, what solutions does TareTag offer?

Michael Albert: TareTag offers two features. The first is the refilling of containers. The goal here is to have as little disposable packaging as possible circulating in the store and instead to use as many deposit containers or customers' own containers as possible. With TareTag, customers can fill containers of their choice and then use these containers again and again.

Today's unpacked stores work according to a very complex system, which we have greatly simplified with the help of a digital label including a QR code. This QR code offers the additional advantage that customers can still track exactly what is in a container at home. With the help of our app, the QR code on the jar can be scanned and all product information can be accessed. This includes ingredients, nutritional values, origin, brand and more. All the information that is normally printed on a disposable container is stored here by the QR code.

The second big feature is the management of deposit systems. With TareTag, any container, even disposable containers, can be turned into a deposit container. This means that store owners can create, manage and account for their own deposit pools. Other deposit systems can also be included. TareTag thus offers a possible standard for linking the multitude of new start-ups, for example, so that deposit containers from Munich can also be handed in in Hamburg.

How do retailers benefit from this in concrete terms?

Albert: Retailers have various advantages from the system. On the one hand, there is the image advantage that comes about when retailers use and circulate sustainable reusable packaging instead of disposable packaging. This is something that will also be increasingly demanded by the legislator. In this respect, we offer a very easy-to-use tool. On the other hand, using it means speeding up processes. Certain actions, such as the scanning of products, are outsourced to the customers. They are already familiar with similar systems, e.g., from buying screws at the hardware store, so they are not overwhelmed.

What do retailers have to do to use the TareTag system? Are there any technical requirements?

Albert: TareTag offers an interface for cash register systems. The suppliers of cash registers have to program this interface once into their system. We are already in talks with many of these providers, who are showing great interest. Currently, we are a cooperation partner of Conema e.K., who have already configured their cash register systems accordingly. This is particularly interesting for new openings, as we can guarantee smooth operation with Conema. All other cash register providers require the interface programming mentioned. 

Are there already plans to expand the portfolio?

Albert: We have been developing TareTag for three and a half years and have seen incredible potential in that time. We can't even foresee much of it today. Every new development step leads to new possibilities. Our app is currently still in a "light" version, where you don't have to register. However, with the future implementation of registration, many new possibilities will arise, such as dealer search, bonus programs or tracking systems for the deposit containers. We have many more ideas.

Interview: Matthias Groß

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