It has been estimated that a third of the +/- 7 million tonnes of food and drink waste in the UK is down to date-label confusion. That is over 2 million tonnes.
In the US it is far worse. A 2016 study found that 84 percent of Americans throw away food based on the date stamped on packages. And that date isn’t necessarily “expires on”; labels like “best by” and “sell by” can confuse consumers on when exactly they should pitch their food. An estimated $30 billion worth of food is destroyed due to date labels.
A not so new labelling product from the UK that has yet to take off here in our region could help to reduce that figure substantially.
Mimica Touch is a patented label that tells you exactly when food spoils. It is calibrated to degrade at the same rate as food and adjusts to conditions along the way.
The Mimica Label is divided into two, the left hand side of the label clearly states the expiry date of the product whilst the right hand side goes bumpy when the expiry date has been reached. So shoppers can physically feel when a product is either on the shop shelf after the expiry date, or when it is in their own pantry waiting to be used.
Mimica Touch is the first product from Mimica and the brainchild of founder and director Solveiga Pakštaitė. Winning ‘Gold’ at the inaugural Food Talk Awards last year, the product is expected to be on retail shelves soon, and promises ‘biologically accurate’ food spoilage information, with the label changing texture from smooth to bumpy once the food inside the package has expired.
The Mimica Touch label contains an amount of Gelatin, the concentration of which can be varied according to the proper expiry period of the food.
The printing process will surely be far more expensive than conventional labeling but the cost savings to food retailers and food distributors could far outweigh the additional cost of printing.