back to article Pasta is now a THING, says Cisco

QR codes are now officially part of the Internet of Things hype-cycle. That news comes courtesy of Cisco, which has inked a deal with Barilla, under which the codes will be printed on pasta packs to try and add some kind of Thingish excitement to one of the world's starchy staples. No, really. Here's The Borg's press …

  1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    That's a good thing

    In other words, what Cisco, NTT Data, and Italian professional services firm Penelope have put together is a supply-chain food safety database.

    I had to do a quick read, but my impression of the paddock-to-plate thing is that it is about feeling connected to your food and that it is targeted at consumers concerned with the sustainability of its production and not so much about keeping track for the sake of safety. What I suspect is that this is really just a "feel good" measure in as much as the various ingredients could already be tracked through existing methods - so totally in line with the rest of the Internet of Things mentality.

  2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    QR Code? Why not I guess

    QR Code? Why not I guess. I have no desire to scan my food and see where it came from, but QR codes are free to use, just printed on so cost is approximately zero. Compared to some few cents for an RFID tag, and most phones can't do anything with it. A little easier than going to a web site printed on there and typing in a production code.

    1. DreadPirateRobot

      Re: QR Code? Why not I guess

      Most supermarkets have a nice grey bar at the till that wipes anti-shoplifting tags, they have a "do not place credit/debit cards here" sticker on them. I imagine this could pop an RFID tag when passed over it, QR makes sense in this case.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: QR Code? Why not I guess

      As a tag on pasta, there's no risk of it being a 'tracking' device for the paranoid if you cover it up, unlike RFID tags. Or of scary Electromagnetic Radiation (aside from reflecting stuff from environmental sources).

      Also, when you get a bit more advanced it can add AR functions- overlaying butterflies or something over the pasta bag. There was a porridge (Paw Ridge, I think) that did that a few years ago.

      QR codes could also be used to geotag things- just combine location and physical size into a tag. You can then calculate range and bearing from a known point, giving better accuracy, precision and update rates than GPS- especially in urban or indoor environments- at the cost of higher battery consumption (either for the local video processing or wirelessly streaming live camera data somewhere else for processing) if you want it live.

      QR codes are awesome, it's a failing of IT that they've not really taken off as far as they can yet.

  3. frank ly

    Paddock to plate

    It's horses that are kept in a paddock isn't it? Oh ..... that picture ...... right.

  4. jake Silver badge

    I make pasta from scratch a couple times a week.

    It ain't exactly rocket science. Flour, eggs, maybe a little water, some salt.

    Why, exactly, does cisco Marketing think that making a basic food product that has been around for thousands of years requires internet connectivity? The mind absolutely boggles.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "paddock-to-plate tracking is finally getting legs"

    Horse legs, presumably.

    Oh, it's Cisco, not Tesco ...

  6. Herby Silver badge

    Look, at least it works.

    QR codes are well accepted and users have the means to decode them. The previous consumer "link" technology was the "CueCat" device (a search will turn up things). They flooded the stores (Radio Shack/Tandy among them) with the silly little things that were to read bar codes in magazines (and products) to get "more info". The reader and the bar codes were a colossal flop. and hobbyists would gobble them up and add the jumper to let them decode other bar codes to make them useful and NOT use the CueCat software.

    At least the QR codes can give you a proper URL and don't cost the generator of the code any money (other then the ink necessary). Sure there are alternatives, but few cost effective as QR codes.

    So, yes they will appear on cereal (Weetabix?) boxes and we can choose to ignore them as necessary. Life goes on.

  7. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge


    "In other words, what Cisco, NTT Data, and Italian professional services firm Penelope have put together is a supply-chain food safety database."

    In other words, what Cisco, NTT Data, and Italian professional services firm Penelope have put together is a solution nobody needs to a problem that nobody was bothered about.

  8. Alister Silver badge

    I insist that each strand of pasta has it's own IPV6 address, and a temperature sensor, so that I can remotely query them to see if they are all cooked.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When Heinz and other companies started doing QRs a couple years back, I printed out QR stickers pointing to the URL and stuck them on products at the holier-than-thou restaurant near the local fundie baptist church. And no one does fundie baptist churches quite as well as we do here in the Deep South.

    Boy, that raised an enormous stink. Far larger than I ever expected, and the restaurant lost most of its business. I was just heartbroken, I tell you.

    Anon for obvious reasons.

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