EBN-QR: Edible QR Code for Bird’s Nest Nutrient Verification

Update:  July 10, 2024
EBN-QR: Edible QR Code for Bird’s Nest Nutrient Verification
A researcher from Thammasat University developed edible QR codes using cloud technology to verify the authenticity of bird nests. 

This award-winning Thai innovation, the EBN-QR (Edible Bird’s Nest—Quick Response) code, is poised to make a significant breakthrough in food authentication.

Professor Thavorn championed this invention to address a growing concern in the health food market: the presence of counterfeit bird’s nests.

Through this novel approach, consumers, particularly those interested in the purported health benefits of bird’s nest consumption, can make informed purchasing decisions and confidently navigate the world of health products with QR codes.

All you need to know about Edible Bird’s Nests (EBN) 

Edible Bird’s Nest (EBN), also known as “Yan Wo” or “Caviar of the East,” is a coveted ingredient, especially prized for its rarity and supposed health benefits in Southeast and East Asian cuisine.

Some people mistakenly believe that these nests are built from twigs and leaves. However, they are actually produced by the edible nest swiftlets, a small insectivorous bird native to Southeast Asia.

These nests resemble hammocks of tightly woven red, yellow, or white threads—meticulously and marvelously constructed by swiftlets' hardened saliva. 

Packed with protein, EBN is most commonly enjoyed in soups infused with rock sugar and other delicate broths. Some people also claim it possesses medicinal properties that can brighten skin and boost energy levels.

The high market value of EBN, driven by its perceived health benefits and luxurious content, incentivizes deceitful individuals to flood the market with imitations. 

To combat counterfeits, implementing the best QR code generator was best seen as support for product verification and safeguarding the integrity of the health food market.

EBN system using bio-QR code and cloud technology to guarantee product authenticity 

QR codes on products

Professor Jakkrit Thavorn from the Department of Organization, Entrepreneurship, and Human Resource Management, who is also a researcher and a developer of EBN-QR, said that this invention is entirely biodegradable and consumable. 

These QR codes are made from edible components, including paper, glue, and ink, and are seamlessly integrated within the bird’s nests to preserve their taste and texture. 

With codes placed on each product, consumers can scan it with their smartphones to access relevant information.

This information will then be linked to a cloud technology that houses all the data needed to check the items before consuming.

"EBN-QR revolutionizes the production and distribution methods of high-quality bird's nests and instills consumer confidence. It benefits consumers by providing access to origin-related information about the products,” the Thai development team expressed.

They were the first in Thailand to develop this technology designed explicitly for bird nests, which has been hailed as a trailblazing advancement.

This verification system is set to promote sustainable practices, balancing industrial growth and environmental conservation.

What will the edible QR code reveal?

Edible QR codes

These edible QR codes revolutionize consumer access to critical product information in the health and food industry but with a savvy twist. 

Scanning them using a smartphone unlocks a wealth of data and can encompass the following information:

  • Product origin: Pinpoints the exact farm where the bird’s nest originated. 
  • Quality control measures: This includes the manufacturing process and product testing implemented by the farm. 
  • Farm care: Shows how a specific farm raises birds and maintains farm equipment. 
  • Nutritional value: Access to the bird’s nest's nutritional profile, such as sodium or cholesterol quantity. 
  • Nest cleanliness and safety: This refers to the process of preparing the nests for consumption and involves removing contaminants like harmful bacteria. 

Transparency is further enhanced as this data showcases the processes within the supply chain, providing peace of mind to health-conscious consumers seeking genuine, high-quality bird’s nests. 

These codes are expected to help reinforce their authenticity, with informed consumers driving the demand for ethical and high-quality products. 

The system is projected to launch in the near future. 

Enhancing pharmaceutical security using consumable QR codes in the US market

Thailand’s researchers were not the first to develop edible QR codes. In fact, similar consumable labels were initially observed in the United States. 

To mitigate drug security issues, affixing these minuscule QR codes on drug packaging and prescriptions, pills, tablets, capsules, and bottles of liquid medicine can help curb this concern. 

Creating the code included testing several types of silk protein, each from genetically modified silkworms, and then forming them into a matrix barcode embedded with specific information. This makes it harder for schemers to copy and reproduce the products.

A quick scan using smart devices will verify the medication’s authenticity at every point of use, encouraging patients to be proactive about their health. 

Echoing the intention behind edible QR codes, this innovative technology holds immense potential for combating the growing problem of counterfeit goods.


QR codes in the battle against counterfeit products 

The combat against counterfeit goods is a constant struggle for brands and consumers alike. But in this battleground, a simple yet powerful tool emerges: QR codes.

This invention is not only a testament to Thai research ingenuity but also shows us a prime example of how technology can enhance transparency and consumer trust within the food industry.

While still under development, QR codes themselves maintain a driving factor for convenience in today’s digitally powered society.

Brands using QR codes
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