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Supermarket Cameras Will Determine Shoppers' Age To Avoid Till Conflict

Supermarket Cameras Will Determine Shoppers' Age To Avoid Till Conflict

Major supermarkets will trial the use cameras to provide an estimate of a customer’s age when purchasing alcohol at self-checkouts

Asda, Co-op and Morrisons are some of the UK supermarkets that have signed up to the trial of new automated age-verifying technology that will allow shoppers to buy alcohol at self-checkouts.

The whole point of it all is so staff don't need to authorise alcohol transactions because the cameras will provide an estimate of the customer's age.

Baby faces like myself could be in trouble.

Anyway, the customers will need to consent and the camera will use algorithms and a database of anonymous faces, report The Independent.

The trials are part of a Home Office digital ID scheme to use technology to ascertain if a customer is over 25.

Asda confirmed via a recent announcement that it would be trialling the new tech in its Pudsey and Stevenage stores from this week, up until May.

A number of Co-op stores in Greater Manchester are also taking part in the trial.


Geri Hebberd, senior director of retail innovation at Asda, said: “We know how time-pressed some of our customers are, so we always want to make things quicker and easier for them when they shop with us.

“We are excited to be the first retailer in the UK to test this new technology and are looking forward to seeing what our customers think of the trial.

"The use of this software will enable colleagues to focus on serving customers and make sure they have an excellent experience whilst in store.”

The trial has been made possible with the partnership of checkout technology company NCR and the digital identity network Yoti.

The chief executive of Yoti, Robin Tombs, said: “Waiting for age approval at the self-checkout is sometimes frustrating for shoppers. 

“Our age verification solutions are helping retailers like Asda meet the requirements of regulators worldwide and keep pace with consumer demands for fast and convenient services while preserving people’s privacy.” 


Graham Wynn, assistant director for consumer, competition and regulatory affairs at the British Retail Consortium, said: “The BRC has long campaigned for the use of age-verification and estimation technology in the sale of alcohol. 

“Such technology has already been used for all other age-restricted items, such as knives. Alcohol is the most common age-restricted sale, and it is often a trigger point for conflict at the till. 

“Using this technology could reduce incidents of abuse because the machine would be seen to be refusing the sale rather than the retail worker.”

However, Tom Church, who created a supermarket price comparison tool on, issued caution: “Artificial intelligence is probably better at guessing ages consistently than people are. But will teenagers be able to trick it? 

“Could you wear a mask of an old person, or put on a fake moustache, or draw some wrinkles around the eyes to look older?

"Or, on the flip side, will some people be consistently thought of as too young? It all depends on the accuracy and biases within the training data sets of the system."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Shopping, UK News