GS1 UK has announced that Tesco and Ocado have become the first retailers to sign commercial contracts for using productDNA, a new grocery product data-sharing service.

productDNA, which launched last month, is said to be the result of the retail industry getting together to agree a ‘common language’ for products, being created ‘for the industry, by the industry.’

GS1 UK, a community of over 34,000 members in retail and the food service, said the benefits of its new service included creating a common data model for all retailers using a set of agreed product attributes, and a simple faster product catalogue shared between suppliers and retailers.

It works in four stages; suppliers enter their product data into an online catalogue, the data is then checked by an independent third party before the retailers and shoppers have access to the information.

It allows shoppers and retailers to know, in great detail, everything about the product including the ingredients, country of origin as well as product life, preparation instructions and alcohol by weight.

Commenting on the need for launching productDNA, Mark Watson, director of planning & supply chain at Ocado, said: “Retailers and suppliers spend too much time on chasing, checking and re-keying product data.

“productDNA delivers a single product data catalogue that we will all own and trust. It will mean we can focus on what’s really important to our businesses, delivering innovation and improving the customer experience.”

Other suggested benefits of the service include the introduction of third party verification to improve the quality of product data.

Outlining the commitment to productDNA, George Wright, Tesco’s commercial director, said: “When adopted universally across the industry, productDNA will give retailers increased confidence in the product data they receive, as well as helping to reduce the amount of inaccurate data and increasing the efficiency of our product data processing.”

Gary Lynch, CEO at GS1 UK, added: “ As a neutral, not-for-profit organisation, GS1 UK’s purpose is to help industry solve complex challenges such as these, and we’re delighted that both Tesco and Ocado have committed to implement productDNA. “

A spokesman for GS1 said it will continue to evolve the new service to address the wider industry demands for a better quality, cost effective product data solution for the entire grocery market.

Last year, both Tesco and Ocado were among the retailers and brands to sign up to an industry charter for a common approach to product data management.