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Future-Proofing Hillfarm's brand with GS1 Digital Link

Hillfarm, the first British farmers to grow, press, and bottle cold-pressed rapeseed oil, are again at the forefront of industry innovation.

As they celebrate their 20th anniversary, they have become the first farmers in the UK to use Orca Scans GS1 Digital Link solution and GS1-powered QR codes to connect with consumers like never before… and the results speak for themselves👇

The challenges

In the early days, the Fairs family and their team fostered personal connections with customers through face-to-face events like county shows. However, as Hillfarm’s presence grew, maintaining this personal touch became increasingly challenging, especially with products sold in numerous verticals.

As with most food products, there is limited space on product labels and packaging. The GS1 Digital Link solution with Orca Scan’s bespoke landing page solves that challenge by giving Hillfarm’s story the space it deserves
Elizabeth FoxOffice ManagerHillfarm Oils

Hillfarm has a story to share, from their family heritage to their deep-rooted commitment to sustainability. They wanted to be able to communicate this story effectively with their customers, particularly gift recipients, enabling them to reconnect, make online purchases, and more. However, given the limited packaging space and diminishing face-to-face interactions, an innovative solution was needed.

A little bit of context

The Fairs have been running their family farm in Suffolk for over half a century, producing high-quality rapeseed crops. Twenty years ago, they began selling their cold-pressed rapeseed oil.

Initially introduced at the Suffolk Show, Hillfarm oil soon became a beloved staple at shows and events across East England. Riding on this success, Hillfarm oil is now available nationally in renowned retailers such as Sainsbury, Tesco, Morrisons, Costco, and many local independent stores.

Accompanying their growth, Hillfarm expanded its team, evolving from a family-run enterprise into a passionate group of individuals. Elizabeth Fox, the Office Manager responsible for quality management, transport coordination, deliveries, and stock control, is leading this transformation—a perfect fit to discover the innovative solution they need.

The solution

As Hillfarm is a longstanding GS1 member, Elizabeth discovered the newest standard, Digital Link, and promptly registered their products with GS1 UK’s resolver using Orca Scan.

She created a sheet using the GS1 Digital Link Solution and added the UPC barcode details to generate a unique digital link QR code for each of their products. This QR code was designed and printed onto their labels, and the Digital Link journey began.

Adding Digital link barcodes to our packaging was so easy… we just made space for it
Clare FairsCo-FounderHillfarm Oils

As customers scan the Digital Link QR code on a Hillfarm product, they are directed to a dynamic landing page that hosts a whole range of content curated and controlled by the Hillfarm team.

It’s been incredibly simple but exciting because we feel we’re keeping up with the new and modern way, which rarely happens in the Suffolk countryside
Clare FairsCo-FounderHillfarm Oils

Elizabeth added detailed product information using Orca Scan, including promotions, recipe ideas, and allergen and recycling information. She also added information about Hillfarm as a business, sharing videos and links to their social media pages and, most importantly, where they can purchase their products again.

Through this solution, Elizabeth and the Hillfarm team completely control the content they share with their consumers. Using the Orca Scan GS1 Digital Link Solution, they can keep the content fresh and dynamic without re-printing labels, swing tags, or printing newsletters and flyers.

Has the solution been successful?

Since implementing GS1-powered QR codes, using Orca Scan’s GS1 Digital Link solution, Hillfarm has created a new way of connecting to its consumers. Especially with those who are recipients of gift boxes, and as a result, they’ve had an increase in new and repeat customers.

While this has seen an increase in sales, it’s also allowed them to build a strong relationship with their customers and provide extra value to them. This has helped increase their brand positioning and reduced the expenditure on resources such as swing tags and newsletters they’d previously used.

It’s enabled us to reach our customers far easier than before… We have a lot of information to share, and we’re proud to have a new way to introduce our story and promotions to our customers
Clare FairsCo-FounderHillfarm Oils

The solution has been so successful that Hillfarm is extending the use of Digital Link QR codes to all its products. They are also looking to increase the amount of information they share with their customers, starting with improving supply chain efficiency by embedding expiry dates, batch numbers and other information into the QR code to create better transparency and visibility across the supply chain.

GS1 Digital Link will help fulfil my compliance and supply chain responsibilities as it helps instantly connect people up and down our supply chain to vital information about our products, supporting improved inventory management, greater traceability and sustainability initiatives
Elizabeth FoxOffice ManagerHillfarm Oils

In the year that Hillfarm starts to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the use of the GS1 Digital Link solution means they have future-proofed its brand to be able to continue to produce quality products with complete traceability for the next 20 years and beyond 🚀

Thank you 🙏

Thank you to Clare, Elizabeth, Lottie and the Hillfarm team for participating in our GS1 Digital Link pilot. Here’s to the next 20 years!

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