Edible code can help to reduce food packaging

Label Says Ltd has created an edible printed ink code that can be added directly onto all types of food such as fish, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, drinks and meat, it claims. The information is accessible when each product is scanned by the app, providing a fully augmented reality (AR) experience, allowing customers to learn more about the product and significantly reducing food packaging.

Waving our phone over food items we place in our basket that contain a scannable code will unveil a wealth of information about each item from its origins, production, ingredients, how to best recycle, allergy guidance and even recipes according to Peter Woods, from NE England who is the brainchild behind the innovative code.

Developed in collaboration with the University of Sunderland, and supported by funding through the GX project, a two-year business innovation programme, also it is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF.) Sunderland graduates Daniel Almond and Dominic Hutchinson, helped Peter design and develop this application, which will provide codes for the food industry from farmers to supermarkets, they say.

Peter Woods explained, “the way we buy our food will drastically change in the coming years. Climate change, as well as the demand from customers, is driving supermarkets and other food providers to drastically reduce their packaging. The application we have developed enables customers to get relevant information without the need for excessive packing. Ultimately it is better for the customer, the food supplier and our planet.”

The collaboration has ensured the product meets the food quality standards framework, is environmentally friendly and creates potential for future company growth and employment. Associate Professor Derek Watson, leader for innovation and technology transfer and academic industry collaboration, said: “Working with Label Says is a clear demonstration of how our University co-collaborates effectively with external partners.”

“The project hinged on two very talented students working in the area of augmented reality, who have proved themselves in the commercial arena. We all worked as a team and are now at a stage where we can pitch the product to the food industry,” he added.  Both undergraduates worked in AR and gamified software which helped them design the software behind the app.

Label Says UK is now being patented and is in talks with a number of British food producers and retailers interested in the technology, which was unveiled to a group of world leading experts on food safety at the University of Sunderland during an International Food Safety Culture Conference.

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