Did you know that an average of 180kg of food is wasted per person per year in the EU? Or that a third of the food produced globally goes to waste? A large part of this figure can be attributed to the misconception that food is spoiled when it reaches its expiration date. Since 2011, Is It Fresh has been working to create wireless sensor technology that can measure actual product freshness in real time. With Ateknea’s help, they have been approved for Phase 2 level EU funding from the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument programme.
The start-up has developed technology that combines the methods of printed electronics, functional inks, and roll-to-roll manufacturing to come up with a sophisticated tag for a cost of less than 1 cent. It is cheap enough to be integrated into every type of food packaging and can wirelessly deliver information about the origin, freshness, and remaining life of the product inside. Thanks to the EU funding, this could allow the whole food supply chain to both track products with a unique ID and measure their actual freshness in real time, making informed decisions at every stage and vastly reducing food waste.
The technology will allow for more efficient – and more environmentally friendly – processing at every stage of the food value chain, from manufacturing to logistics, to retail, to consumer, with the potential for wide-ranging and significant improvements to the way in which we produce, distribute, and effectively manage food at a global scale.
Ateknea worked with Is It Fresh to:
- Prepare the documentation that helped Is It Fresh to achieve approval for Phase 2 EU funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument programme.
And will now focus on the technological development of the project:
- Delivering the source code and deploying a working system for the monitoring tool.
- Providing an integrated and working Visual Inspection Tool able to detect any defects in the printed tags that could exclude them from being functional. This can include holes in a layer, dust particles, discontinuities, etc. The Visual Inspection Tool will be able to decide whether the tags must be discarded due to detected errors or, if the errors affect a non-critical area, they can still be used.
Ateknea and Is It Fresh will now work together on the development of the tool as well as its journey to market.