RFID development in the UK has outstripped similar initiatives in the US, according to the organisation in charge of developing an RFID standard for the UK.

At a meeting attended by Safeway and Nestle representatives in March, e.centre chief executive Steve Coussins said: ‘RFID is gaining interest in the UK faster than in other parts of Europe, and some companies are even ahead of their US counterparts.’

E.centre, part of EAN International - the global non-profit organisation set up to develop, promote and deploy standards for the identification of goods - is to launch the long-awaited standard for RFID at the Queen Elizabeth Centre in London on April 28.

The emergence of a standard has long been viewed by a sizeable proportion of UK retailers as a landmark step towards widespread adoption of the technology. So far, RFID testing in the supply chain has been limited to small-scale pilots involving closed loops, where tagged containers travel between the retailer and a specific supplier.

Nestle business technology manager Paul Roberts said: ‘Tesco, Metro and Wal-Mart are all planning wide-scale roll-outs of RFID throughout their supply chains, but in different ways. The financial implications of this are huge. We need a clear, standards-led adoption process, with closer co-operation between the major players. A drip-drip approach would be a disaster.’