CPI Supporting Smart Labelling Project to Cut Food Waste

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is supporting next generation smart labelling work aimed at dramatically cutting food waste and health risks across the perishable goods industry.

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Working in collaboration with SMEs Intray Limited and Mexar Limited, CPI is co-developing wet media formulations to ramp up production of the Oli-TecTM branded Time Temperature Indicator label (TTI).

TTIs have the potential to transform the food industry by providing real-time information on a product’s condition throughout its supply chain journey.

Existing sell-by, use-by and best before dates provide insufficient information and alerts to consumers on the shelf-life status and degradation of goods, leading to greater risk of health hazards and increased waste.

However, Intray has developed the underpinning proof-of-principle for an innovative yet cost-effective TTI label, known as Oli-TecTM, which responds to time and temperature, using a green, amber and red traffic light system to highlight goods’ condition, with the latter notifying consumers that their safety could be as risk.

Time Temperature Indicator labels have the potential to transform the food industry by providing consumers with real-time information on a product’s condition

Through use of an amber-coloured call to action function, it also has the potential to save greater amounts of waste by alerting consumers to goods’ condition as they deteriorate.

Working alongside inkjet development company Mexar Limited, CPI, from its position within the Government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult programme, is co-developing wet media formulations for various shelf-life timings, spread between two and 15 days.

Operating out of its state-of-the-art formulation facilities at NETPark, in Sedgefield, County Durham, CPI is also working on developing the models for the timing mechanisms of the label. 

Demonstration prototype labels will be generated, tested and evaluated, which will allow Intray to carry out market trials, ahead of a planned launch in 2020.

Sarah Williams, Manager — Colloid Science at CPI, said: We are excited to work with Intray and Mexar to develop the next generation of food safe labels, supporting the development of the wet media and timing mechanism.”

The 18-month project, backed by Innovate UK funding, is expected to help Intray leverage Britain’s formulation industry and strengthen manufacturing expertise by extending TTI use outside the food industry and into other areas, such as the pharmaceutical and medical sectors.

Existing sell-by, use-by and best before dates provide insufficient information and alerts to consumers on the shelf-life status and degradation of goods

Such tailoring means Intray could potentially secure global licenses, delivering millions of pounds in export revenues, delivering additional value to the UK economy.

Suzanna Hawkes, Director of Intray Limited, said: Intray are excited to work with CPI to allow for rigorous testing to ensure the timing mechanisms of the labels are accurate and repeatable. 

Additionally, Intray is pleased to continue its long-standing partnership with Mexar in the development of the Oli-TecTM label.” 

Andy Hancock, Director of Mexar Limited, said: Mexar are very happy to be furthering their co-operation with CPI, having worked with the organisation on other projects in the past. 

Mexar have been involved as a long-term partner in the Oli-TecTM project and welcome the involvement of CPI with their wealth of knowledge and excellent facilities in the North-East.”