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Clever Ink can Reduce Food Waste

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Clever Ink can Reduce Food Waste

April 22
10:34 2013

Insignia Technologies, based in Scotland, has created an intelligent ink that changes colour when exposed to external influences such as time, oxygen and humidity levels.

Developed by chemist Professor Andrew Mills, the technology can be used in a range of different products, and the company hopes it will help reduce the estimated 18 million tonnes of edible food sent to UK landfill each year. This costs the average family over £600 per year!

The Waste Watch® Food Fresh sticker on the pack reminds the consumer how long items have been in the fridge. These change colour over time so no one will ever have to throw anything away because they have forgotten when it was opened. Cheese for example, if it gets thrown away, will most likely end up in a landfill site where it rots and releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The Novas Embedded Label, aimed at the cheese and cold meat sectors primarily, can be applied to any product flushed with CO². Incorporated into a film lid, the label is activated when the consumer opens the packet and triggers a timer to show a strong colour change as the food inside loses freshness.

Novas ® CO2 Indicator Pigment is a specialized pigment for use in plastic packaging which shows a clear colour change when packaging has been damaged on products packed in a modified atmosphere. This allows manufacturers and retailers to remove this product from the supply chain before it even reaches the supermarket shelf.

Based at BioCity, an R&D facility for processing and storage, Insignia is a collaboration between Insigniapack Ltd and Novas Technologies Ltd. Insigniapack previously developed a range of intelligent inks for use as sensors in food packaging, while Novas Technologies (a spin-out company from the University of Strathclyde) are experts in smart pigment technology. Thanks to ongoing support from Scottish Enterprise, the company is preparing to take its technology to the global marketplace.

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