Vytal helps cut waste by replacing single use food and drink packaging with an innovative reusable solution – and smart data capture is critical for keeping containers in circulation and customers compliant with legislation.
With over 6000 gastronomy partners in more than 10 countries, Vytal is the largest digital reusable packaging provider and tracking system worldwide. Each container lid has a laser engraved QR code, which is scanned every time it is used, returned or inventoried. For restaurants, speed is everything. Vytal selected Scandit to enable peerless scanning performance for the smoothest partner experience, on any smartphone.
The QR code and Scandit’s high performance scanning play a vital role in our deposit-free reusables solution. Our busy restaurant partners can scan containers with assured speed and accuracy on any smartphone, helping them cut packaging and costs, win customers and smoothly integrate reusables into their business processes.
Vytal wants to make reusable food and drink packaging the new standard, helping people and businesses reduce their environmental impact. New legislation, such as the European Packaging Waste Directive, aims to phase out single use containers.
Food providers across Europe either need to be compliant or get ready to comply. Identifying that reuse schemes relying on cash deposits were awkward for restaurants to administer, Vytal pioneered a new deposit-free digital approach.
Dr. Josephine Kreische, Managing Director at Vytal, compares their reusable containers solution to a traditional library. People just need an account (signing up via an app or offline card) and there is no charge for use on the customer side. “Our partners, which include everything from large restaurant chains to individual takeaways and canteens, enable customers to borrow reusable, leak-proof containers, then they must return them within 14 days to any partner location. Like a library, there is only a fee if it’s returned late.”
Partners use Vytal containers as food packaging at a fair pay-per-use cost, saving money compared to single use packaging. Each container and customer has a unique ID via a QR code, which is scanned and linked every time a container is issued or returned.
A focus on sustainability and scanning experiences
As a sustainable company, Vytal digital platform is designed to ensure container stock in the Vytal network is balanced and grows at a rate that still allows for optimal circulation of the reusable containers (i.e. not sitting on a shelf). Accurate inventory data is vital for this visibility and efficiency.
Vytal needed to make it simple for busy partners to run the reusable solution within their operations – and the ability to quickly and accurately scan QR codes was the critical element.
Many partners simply didn’t have or need extensive technology capabilities to run their operations, so Vytal decided to issue smartphones to enable the scanning. To keep costs down, they focused on lower-end Android device models, but the scanning capabilities weren’t proving fast or reliable enough.
After researching software-based scanning options for their partner app, Vytal chose to integrate the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK. The decision was driven by Scandit’s ability to bring scanning speed and accuracy to even low-cost smartphone devices. Additionally, as an innovative company constantly evolving their solution, the adaptability of the Scandit Smart Data Capture Platform was appealing.
Scandit was deployed in under 4 weeks and is now used by Vytal’s 6000+ partners with a large number based in Germany, but also in the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the UK and more.
Dr Josephine Kreische continues, “Creating the smoothest possible partner experience is incredibly important. Restaurants, takeaways and canteens are time-critical environments. New processes, like scanning reusables in and out, can create additional strain when trying to get food out or prevent queues. Scanning is the most important element and it must work flawlessly.”
With Scandit Smart Data Capture the scanning performance is assured on over 20,000 device models and in any conditions – from a restaurant kitchen to a takeaway kiosk.
Since December 2021, Vytal partners can reliably and rapidly capture QR codes on container lids without mis-scans, when scanning at awkward angles, working at speed on multiple orders, in bright or low light, or when the code is obscured.
As well as streamlining the day-to-day scanning of containers, Scandit’s top performance also helps partners save time when completing scheduled inventory checks of their reusable container stocks.
Scandit Smart Data Capture has helped support Vytal’s success and growth in a number of ways. Vytal’s deposit-free reusable packaging solution is designed to not only help the environment but also help partners achieve cost savings – a win-win scenario.
By deploying Scandit, renting partners lower-end smartphone models keeps costs down but without compromising on performance. Partners also save money by moving on from single use food and drink packaging. Vytal containers can be reused over 200 times, so the savings soon add up.
According to Josephine Kreische, “Everyone has a personal benchmark from scanning QR codes, if it takes too long they get frustrated. For us, without Scandit’s high quality scanning our solution and partners suffer. Having these uniquely identifiable containers and always knowing where they are is our USP – Scandit plays a vital role.”
Inventory data is a differentiator
Vytal is a data-driven company and Scandit’s reliability helps them achieve more accurate inventory information. Scanning the QR codes provides better visibility, aids optimized distribution and unlocks insights to help the evolution of their solution.
For example, thanks to their digital platform Vytal are able to proactively ship containers to partners who need them, without them having to place an order. Or they can identify where to collect unused containers, as the more containers that are in circulation and not static, the more beneficial for everyone.
Vytal can also track how often containers are used, which different types of food and beverage containers are most popular and see patterns i.e. certain partners are popular drop-off locations, so need less stock.
The simplicity and robustness of scanning the laser engraved QR code is key and Vytal appreciates Scandit’s adaptiveness and fit with their innovative mindset.
Josephine Kreische concludes, “Scandit’s solution is very flexible and works on different smartphones and scenarios. We don’t choose technology that is restrictive, as we are continuously innovating our product and processes. We need providers with a certain breadth of offer and adaptiveness and Scandit provides both.”
In the future, Vytal is interested in investigating Scandit’s advanced smart data capture capabilities, such as MatrixScan Count which offers the ability to scan and count multiple QR codes at once to speed up inventory checks.
And ultimately as more and more sustainability conscious companies sign up or must prepare for the reusable obligation, Scandit is able to help Vytal scale with demand.