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Revolutionary smart label launched for food packaging

Friday, 01 March 2013

A Scottish company has launched a new smart label aimed at improving customer confidence in the quality of their food while cutting down on unnecessary waste.

Easily incorporated into any film lid, the label is activated when a packet is opened and triggers a timer that changes colour as the food within loses freshness – meaning hungry fridge-raiders can tell straight away if their snack is out of date or not.

With an estimated 18 million tonnes of edible food sent to landfill in the UK each year, Lanarkshire-based Insignia Technologies, located at BioCity Scotland, is hoping the innovative new packaging design will help reduce the environmental and economic impact associated with wasted food.

The Scottish business unveiled its patented Embedded Timer to the world at the international Packaging Innovations Conference in Birmingham’s NEC this week.

The product has already generated interest from major supermarket chains in UK, France and USA. Insignia Technologies is now looking to roll-out its new development in food packaging technology in these key regions during 2013.

Insignia Technologies founding director Erik Smyth said: “This is all about ensuring quality and freshness for the consumer while preventing food from going to waste. People open a packet of meat or cheese, forget how long it’s been open, and consequently may not take the risk of eating it. Our new packaging will remove this uncertainty.

“The technology development partnership with the University of Strathclyde and the funding support of Scottish Enterprise has enabled us to bring this novel low-cost timing solution to the market place.”

The management team, which is headed up by chairman David Kilshaw, a prominent figure in the Scottish food industry, is underpinned by a strong research and development team consisting of three PhD-level chemists. The management team believes the unique product range can make a positive contribution to shopper confidence in certain food categories, help reduce unnecessary food waste and establish a strong business at the same time.

COO, Stephen Currie, added: “This is an eight billion dollar industry and our objective will be to achieve sustainable growth over the next five years, by capturing an increasing share of this market, both domestically and abroad.”  

Insignia Technologies launched in August 2012 as the result of a merger between the intelligent inks business Insigniapack and a spin-out company from the University of Strathclyde, Novas Technologies.

Insignia Technologies is also in the process of developing indicator products suitable for the likes of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals packaging, which it will look to roll-out within the next year.