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AI Case Study

Tesco and other UK supermarket to verify alcohol buyers' age using facial recognition technology

Two of the big four supermarkets, most probably two of Tesco, Morrisons and Asda, are to use facial recognition technology at self-service checkouts. The aim of the system is to automatically predict and verify a consumer's age by looking at their face so that it can then accept or decline their alcohol purchase. NCR, in collaboration with Yoti, which makes self check-out machines for Asda, Tesco and other UK’s supermarket has announced the integration of cameras estimating shoppers' age in their machines. The supermarkets have declined to provide information on the project and it is not yet known which two retails will implement the technology.


Consumer Goods And Services

Retail General

Project Overview

"Facial recognition software is to be used in UK supermarkets for the first time to verify the age of people buying alcohol and cigarettes, the Telegraph has learned.

The pilot scheme is set to be rolled out at self-service checkouts by the end of the year and could be applied more widely in 2019.

NCR, a US company which makes self check-out machines for Asda, Tesco and other UK’s supermarkets, will integrate a camera that will estimate the age of shoppers when they are buying age restricted items.

The camera will reduce the need for staff to approve purchases by using AI to scan a person’s face to determine their age and either accept or deny the sale of the item.

Yoti declined to say which supermarkets will use the technology initially, but said its software will been seen with major retailers very soon. Tesco, Morrisons and Asda did not comment before time of publishing. 

The system does not require shoppers to register their identity in advance and does not retain any visual information about users after they have made a purchase.

It follows an announcement made by NCR today [wed] that it will introduce the facial recognition software, which was developed by London-based technology company Yoti, in its “FastLane” tills in the next few months.

The tills are currently used by many UK retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Boots, and WHSmith.

Regular customers will also be able to speed up the process by using a smartphone app to prove their age at the till. The app, also made by Yoti, does however require a customer to register their ID document and face with the company beforehand. 

Yoti previously told The Daily Telegraph that two of the big four supermarkets, which are Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda, will be piloting its technology this year, although the company could not disclose which ones. 

However, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said it was not going to be trialing the software, leaving Tesco, Morrisons and Asda as the likely candidates to use the technology."

Reported Results

Planned; results not yet available






"Robin Tombs, chief executive of Yoti, said: “Waiting for age approval at self-checkouts is a source of frustration for many shoppers, who just want to get home as quickly as possible. "



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