DENMARK – Arla, an international cooperative and one of the largest producers of dairy products in Scandinavia is set to introduce a new high-tech food labels to tackle food waste.
Mimica Touch ‘bumpy’ label, developed by a start-up company, Mimica, will protect customers from picking potentially spoilt products as it turns bumpy when food has expired.
To reduce food waste, the label deteriorates at the same rate as the packaged dairy product, giving indication to whether the food is edible or is fit to go into waste.
According to WRAP, most of the household waste disposed could be avoided if individual or groups put in place effective measures to reduce food that is thrown away.
The ‘bumpy’ label can help tackle the global issue of food waste with UK household estimated to dispose of £470 billion worth of food annually.
“In most cases, the worst case scenario never comes, and so with the Mimica Touch, we would allow supermarkets to display the longer ‘expected date’ because if something does go wrong, then the label will turn bumpy and the product can be pulled off the shelf.
By bringing in a biologically-accurate indicator, more often than not it will prove that our food lasts a lot longer than we think it does, and this has the potential to reduce enormous amounts of food waste,” said Solveiga Pakštaitė, Founder, and Director of Mimica.
The technology, said to have taken two and a half years, was developed by Mimica R&D team in collaboration with the University of Chester that that provided the rare gels research lab.
According to Solveiga, the label was calibrated specifically for each food product and gives a tactile response – smooth when fresh and bumpy when the food is no longer safe for consumption.
If the food is spoiling quicker than usual due to an increase in temperature, so will the label.
WRAP has estimated that dairy products could have an extra three days of shelf life with label technology such as Mimica Touch able to accurately indicate the freshness of products.
In an anticipation for a commercial roll-out of the new labels, Arla will run consumer tests in the UK this year to measure acceptability of the product among consumers.
Arla said that the innovation was part of their Good Growth 2020 strategy that seeks to do business responsibly and sustainably.