While useful to a certain extent, expiry dates on food products can be misleading, resulting in lots of perfectly good food getting tossed. In the UK alone, 60 percent of the food that’s thrown away is still edible, even if the label states the contrary.
Concerned with the problem, a London-based startup intervened to make the food system more sustainable with smart labels that extend the shelf life of fresh food. The label, called Mimica Touch, is essentially a temperature-sensitive indicator for food freshness.
Current expiry dates are estimates for the worst-case temperature scenario, but the reality is that we store our food in much better conditions than the worst-case scenario. As a result of this, we end up wasting a whole lot of food and money.
To tell food freshness in a better way, Mimica Touch responds to temperature changes thanks to a gel filling that goes from smooth to bumpy at the same pace as the food inside spoils. The concept couldn’t be any simpler: if the label feels smooth, then the food is still fresh. If the label feels bumpy, it means that the food is spoiled.
By using Mimica’s freshness indicator, users will be able to use their food for longer periods of time, thus reducing waste in the process. Currently, the label can be applied to food packaging or as a cap on bottles. According to the inventors, the labels are expected to reach supermarket shelves by the end of the year.