QR, or quick response, codes are popping up on all kinds of products and advertisements and many B.C. businesses are turning to the digital marketing tools to boost sales in creative ways.

Ethical Bean Coffee is a local coffee chain that's using the digital packaging codes on its products. A quick scan with your smart phone links you to information that tracks the coffee bean's journey from crop to cup.

"You can find out all the co-ops, the farmers, the stories. You can find out who in our facility roasted the coffee," said Lloyd Bernhardt, President of Ethical Bean Coffee.

Unit sales are up 40 per cent since the QR code packaging was introduced to consumers last year.

The QR code is also being worked into the launch of a new fair trade Vancouver seafood company, Wild Ocean Fish.

"It takes them directly to a page on the website that tells a little bit about the story of the fishermen that catch the fish. It allows people to learn more about the company," said Rob Barnett of Stray Dog Marketing.

Whether it is fish, real estate listings, car sales -- even digital newscasts -- once you notice the QR codes, you'll start to see them everywhere.

Michael Grant of Allegra Marketing predicts mobile marketing is going to be the number one way to reach consumers in the near future.

"Now it's really one-to-one marketing and it's your choice. We're not inundating you with the information, you're making the decision as to whether you want that piece of information," said Grant.

QR codes are also being used in some unusual ways. A Boston restaurant owner is using a special branding iron to stamp them into his corn tortillas. And a Seattle company is embedding QR codes in grave markers to let people learn more about the person who is buried there.

Even local charities are using QR codes. Habitat for Humanity volunteers have used QR codes on their T-shirts so you can scan the person's arm to make instant donations. And the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is using them in its Christmas donation campaigns, posting QR codes on bus shelter ads. Mission officials say it cuts down on administration costs, so more of the donation money actually goes to charity.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele