1. Smart Storage
As opposed to the usual use-by date stickers, a company called Ovie Smarterware has invented a system of 'Smart Tags' that you stick on your food containers. You press the button on the top of the tag, which signals it to connect to the Ovie hub and tell it what kind of food it is. The tag will register the food and begin a countdown.
When half the food's shelf life has passed, the tag changes colour and sends your phone a message so you know it's time to use up the food.
So, no longer will you stand in front of the fridge, wondering how long that Chinese takeaway has been there and whether it's edible - simply check the smart tag!
2. An App for Almost-Expired Food
It's a shocking fact, but supermarkets will throw away tonnes of expired food every week. Though, a new app has been developed, called Flashfood, which will connect you with cheap deals on food getting close to its best-by date, through partnerships with local supermarkets. It currently only works with a few stores in Canada and Midwest America, but there are plans to expand.
3. AI-Powered Dynamic Pricing
A tech company, known as wasteless, has been helping food retailers cut food waste through AI-powered dynamic pricing. This helps both optimise revenues and reduce waste, by using electronic labels connected to the store's point of sale. This allows the pricing engine to quickly learn how consumers respond to dynamic pricing so it can then find the optimal discounting policy.
4. Smart Sanitisation
For use along the supply chain, as opposed to by a consumer, you've got Swiss ebeam technologies. This ebeam technology uses electron beams to sanitise crops and other dry foods, much in the same way that liquid food packaging is treated during the processing stage.
This technology is capable of sanitising food without damaging either the crop or its taste in any way. It's also able to sanitise the foods without reducing the essential qualities, which is a crucial aspect of the technology.
5. Smarter Transit
There has also been innovations in the transit of foodstuffs, as a team in Switzerland have developed sensors to monitor the state of fruit as it travels from farm to store. The sensor is designed to record the experience of the fruit in the pallet as closely as possible, so is the same size and composition as a fruit. This sensor will provide constant feedback on the temperature in the container, because even very small changes could significantly change the speed at which picked crops ripen. So, this will not only influence food wastage but could also help change the use-by date on the produce.
6. Bio-Reactive Food Expiry Label
This new, emerging bio-reactive food expiry label is made from gelatine, a protein which reacts to the environmental conditions, such as temperature and light, which affects food.
This design works by placing gelatine on top of a textured plastic sheet and when the food goes off, the label will feel bumpy, as opposed to smooth.
As the texture changes, this means that the labels could also be used to help people who are visually impaired to find out whether what they were about to eat had gone off.
Preventing the wastage of food is vital, not only down to a monetary factor but also an environmental factor. The damage of wasting food is not simply limited to an economic impact, but the increasing amount of waste we produce as a planet could eventually have a greater impact on both our health and the environment.