Radio Frequency Identification Tags (RFID) are increasingly being considered for many applications and may eventually replace the bar code system which is currently popular in retailing business. Generally RFID tags have two parts, an integrated circuit for storing and providing information and an antenna for receiving transmitted signals. There are active RFID tags, passive version and battery assisted passive system. It has been found to be greatly relevant in supply chain management and to improve inventory tracking program by business enterprises. Wide spread use is constrained by the cost of manufacturing these tags using the presently available technology.
New developments in USA are pointing to the possibility of RFID tags emerging as a low cost tool for packing large quantum of information and making them consumer friendly. Using silicon based inks RFID tags can be printed on many surfaces like food cans, textiles and a range of surfaces and such tags will have same sort of memory and logic capabilities that are in microchips etched into silicon the traditional way. Information about food products including the age, nutritional content, health attributes, presence of allergens and many information can be stored and cell phones programmed suitably can read such tags to access the information. The California based start-up venture Kovio which is about to launch the printed RFID tag products soon has following to say about their product.
It could open up a huge market for the "printed semiconductors," which would contain an enormous amount of data but would be cheap enough to slap on thousands of products. Imagine going to the grocery store and being able to find out what wine works best with your favorite chicken recipe.
One can only hope that the new development will translate into commercial production bringing down the cost significantly affordable to the food industry and eventually make the consumer wiser in selecting right products suiting his specific needs.