From 8 December, regulatory changes in the European Union will come into effect requiring wine sold in Europe to declare detailed information on ingredients, allergens, nutrition and more.
For winemakers, the workaround isn’t as simple as slapping a new label on the side of the bottle because the information must be provided via ‘eLabels’-like QR codes that direct would-be drinkers to a standard website.
These sites in turn cannot track data, and the labels and the website must be totally free from branding.
It’s an incoming hangover for vintners in South Australia who’ll need to jump through more hoops come December – as if Chinese wine tariffs, a red wine glut and a changing climate weren’t enough for our grape crushers.
Lot Fourteen- and Perth-based tech company Cellr has a solution for winemakers that it believes will ensure compliance with these new regulatory changes.
The company has created a platform by which QR codes can be generated to direct drinkers to a website detailing the requisite information in 24 different languages.
This is a pivot from how Cellr’s customers use the platform currently, which is mostly for marketing according to CEO Chris Braine who founded the scaleup in 2016.
“Using Cellr at the moment, if you connect your products – say it’s a bottle of wine – to a QR code or an NFC tag you can run marketing, competitions, campaigns, giveaways…all of those fun active pieces of the marketing puzzle,” Braine said.
“Then as of December 8, if your bottle is picked up in a European country or location you have to serve this legislative content, so all of a sudden it’s gone from having fun and being marketing-driven to now barebones nutritional-based information, ingredient lists, allergens, recyclability information.
“None of that can lead to any marketing content – there can be no implied ‘click here to go to our store’. It’s all very dry and about reducing advertising to the younger demographics.”
Braine said the EU’s move would “help people make wiser choices”, and that the multi-language piece made sense for the EU.
“I should be able to scan that product and translate it to my native language,” he said.
“It’s got a lot of use cases across the food and fast-moving consumer goods landscapes without doubt.
“In fact, we know that the spirits industry in the US is bringing in similar changes next year, and the spirits industry in the EU will follow suit on the back of this initiative.”
Braine added that Australia is also likely to implement these types of regulations on products sold here.
“The legislation may be different in the sense that we can still deliver marketing content or brand protection,” he said.
“That’s one thing that we firmly believe that with this legislation it’s actually going to restrict what brands can do for brand protection because [the EU] is basically saying no marketing, no other content.”
Check our Cellr’s solution here.