Pernod Ricard Uses Digital Labelling to Promote Responsible Drinking

In just two years, Pernod Ricard will have affixed digital labels on over a billion bottles, providing consumers worldwide with information to balance conviviality and responsibility. A successful feat achieved with the assistance of TNP.






Billion bottles labelled, in time

As the world’s second-largest producer of wines and spirits, Pernod Ricard prioritizes responsible alcohol consumption, which entails providing consumers with accurate and transparent information. Consequently, by the end of 2021, the Group made a significant commitment to surpass regulatory requirements by offering clear information and recommendations on all its bottles worldwide, tailored to each country and product.

With a presence in over 160 countries and a vast portfolio of 240 brands and tens of thousands of references, the only feasible solution to this monumental challenge is the utilization of digital labels (‘eLabels’) accessible via a QR code printed on the bottle’s back label. Upon scanning the code, consumers are geolocated, granting them access to information about alcohol and health, responsible drinking, and product composition (including ingredients and nutritional values), all in compliance with local regulations and recommendations issued by health authorities where applicable.

A symbol of the Group’s commitment and innovation capacity

Apart from designing QR codes to seamlessly integrate with various packaging, the system necessitates several crucial actions. This includes identifying, collecting, translating, and validating all necessary information for each product and country, managing data in real-time to adapt to changes, assisting subsidiaries in adopting and implementing the system, and developing management and monitoring tools. Additionally, laying the groundwork for an operational and organizational system to ensure the long-term sustainability and scalability of the solution is imperative.

This ambitious endeavor involves all facets of the company, including public affairs, operations (quality, regulatory affairs, purchasing, supply chain), IT, legal, CSR, marketing and communications. The project is led by Camille de Potter (Head of Prevention) and Nicolas Barret (Head of Quality and Compliance).

As a symbol of the Group’s commitment and capacity for innovation, the initiative is being monitored at the highest level, with a clear objective: to have digital labels on all the Group’s products (subject to the clearance of previous stocks) by June 2024. Given the scale of the project and its eminently cross-functional and international nature, this is an extremely ambitious deadline. To meet it, it is essential to put in place a strong, multi-disciplinary team and, above all, one with excellent project management and coordination skills to avoid any unacceptable drift.

TNP Consultants was given the task of creating this tightly-knit PMO (Project Management Office), with two main missions: to support and lead the project, particularly with the subsidiaries, and to put in place the data engineering tools and procedures that would guarantee data quality. ‘The challenge was to go from an innovative idea to full-scale implementation in just a few months, with no room for error, because the data published would immediately be scrutinised by the authorities and consumers’, explains Vincent Roqueta, Director at TNP, who was responsible for the project.

Anticipating challenges and meeting them head on

Focused on this objective, the project team identified from the outset what could slow down implementation, in particular data management and the adoption by subsidiaries of a change that would necessarily impact their processes. To overcome these pitfalls without wasting time, it has developed a three-stage strategy: firstly, a pilot roll-out on emblematic brands in Europe, to test and validate the approach; then an extension to key markets, including some fairly complex ones such as the United States, China and India; and finally a roll-out to all countries and products.

In addition, the emphasis everywhere is on standardisation, so as not to get bogged down in a case-by-case approach. The team designs and implements operational procedures that skilfully combine automation (to move quickly and manage the volume) and human intervention (to maintain control). ‘The team helped to coordinate the efforts of the various businesses involved, was always ready to make proposals to secure and speed up deliveries, and never hesitated to go out into the field,’ explains Nicolas Barret.

TNP’s ability to anticipate challenges and its willingness to meet them were the keys to success. Nicolas Barret also emphasises the decisive role played by effective governance under the leadership of top-level sponsorship, which enabled any stumbling blocks to be quickly overcome. Finally, he emphasises the osmosis that developed very quickly with the TNP consultants: ‘They immediately understood our challenges and our way of working, and they were able to integrate to the point where they formed a single team with us, united by trust and openness. We all shared the same objective and, without TNP, we probably wouldn’t have been able to meet our deadlines.’

Since the summer of 2022, the first products concerned on the European markets have been bearing digital labels, and the roll-out is proceeding according to plan. Eventually, over a billion bottles will be labelled in this way. The ambition, quality and originality of the solution, as well as the fact that it was implemented on schedule, attracted considerable media and professional attention, with the project being awarded a Silver Prize at the Grand Prix Syntec Conseil 2023. Above all, the large number of (perfectly anonymous) scans from all over the world show better than any other study that the system really does meet consumers’ needs in terms of information and usage.

The project, presented by Pernod Ricard and TNP, was commended at the Grands Prix Syntec Conseil, winning the Silver Award in the Innovation & Insights category.

“The team facilitated coordination among different departments, driving proposals to ensure and expedite deliveries, and was always ready to engage directly in the field.”

Nicolas Barret - Pernod Ricard

Nicolas Barret

Head of Quality and Compliance

Pernod Ricard