Labelling technology company Oli-Tec has created a new time and temperature sensitive smart label which mirrors the life cycle of food products.
The label changes colour from amber to red depending on how close the product is to going off. When the viewing window has turned completely red the product needs to be discarded.
The colours transform slower in cool temperatures and faster in warm conditions.
The label also features a thermometer icon which turns blue when the item is stored at the correct temperature.
It can be applied to the front-of-pack of any product with a shelf life of between five and 15 days and is activated as soon as it is applied and the amber tick symbol turns red.
The product can be tailored to suit a specific product with customisable expiration periods and personalised graphics.
The colour-changing indicator offers a highly visible ‘call to action’ that can be understood easily by both consumers and retailers, according to the company.
Since completing initial validation of its label technology, the company is now looking for partners to pilot the efficacy of the labels in retail, manufacturing, pharma, supply chain and logistics industries.
One third of all food produced worldwide is wasted, which generates 10% of the world’s greenhouse gases says Oli-Tec. Some 40% of food waste currently comes from producers while 60% is generated by consumers.
Oli-Tec hopes this label technology can help to change these figures. Consumers would find it easier to manage food waste if they had shelf-life indicators on their food products instead of labels with ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ dates, it says.
Nik Richardson, CEO of Oli-Tec said: “We developed the Oli-Tec label technology with converters, retailers and consumers in mind. We wanted to make it a technology that is easy to integrate into the complex processes in the supply chain and in-store, so each label could play some part in reducing waste.
“We have also strived to develop a simple visual indicator that will help consumers to see when food is going off. They can then decide whether to use it, freeze it or cook it.”