Packaging Science: Tactile Expiry Labels

Packaging Science: Tactile Expiry Labels

We’ve written previously on Understanding Food Labels: the Difference Between Best Before and Expiry Dates. But what if understanding when the food was safe to consume was even easier to understand? In a UK supported Wrap initiative to redefine standards around use-by date labelling, and an attempt to reduce food waste–a company named Mimica Touchis trying to make this a possibility.

It’s technical name is “biologically accurate food expiry indicator”. It’s a label feature that is designed to turn from smooth to bumpy when the product is no longer recommended safe for consumers to ingest.

According to their website; the indicator design is calibrated to experience decay at the same rate as food by using a gel made from gelatine: a by-product from the food industry. As the gel breaks down, the bumps beneath begin to reveal themselves.

IMAGE SOURCE: mimicalab.com/mimicatouch

This innovative and potentially industry-changing solution has won Solveiga Pakštaitė the James Dyson Foundation scholarship at Brunel University for this project. It was originally created as a solution for enabling visually impaired consumers to gain expiry information about their food, since currently the only indication is a printed date.

As consumers and industry professionals, we found this label technology to be fascinating and ultimately we see the benefits to consumer food safety and the cost to maintaining food safety on supermarket shelves. Not to mention the potential to cut down on food waste and perhaps even add some extra time to product “sell by” dates.

“I think biologically accurate food spoilage information is going to be the next generation of how we look at expiry.”

~ Solveiga Pakstaite; Mimica Touch founder and director [via packaging gateway]

The team at Mimica is currently looking at mass production of this helpful solution that could mean a new future of labelling for expiry dates. They plan to launch the technology on milk product labels, followed by yogurt.

When it is smooth – the food is fresh, when the bumps can be felt – it is no longer safe to eat. Sounds ground-breakingly simple!

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