Smart Food Expiry Label Reacts To The Environment And Could Significantly Reduce Food Waste

We've talked about food waste before, but let's do it again. Nearly 30% of the food produced globally is wasted. In the meantime, 6 million children under the age of five, die each year as a result of hunger. The problem is so serious that 2014 was designated by the European Parliament as the “European year against food waste."

The most important problem in the future will be to tackle increased demand for food, as it will outstrip supply. We can no longer afford to stand idly by while perfectly edible food is being wasted. This is an ethical but also an economic and social problem, with huge implications for the environment.”

Food is wasted throughout the entire food chain from production to households, but in the industrialized world over 40% occurs at retail and the consumer level. Food labels are particularly to blame, as they often make us throw out perfectly edible food just because the "best by" or "sell by" date has passed. As a matter of fact, label dates on food are "generally not regulated and do not indicate food safety," and consumers often don't know what different food expiry labels mean.

Solveiga Pakštaitė, a London based designer, wants to clear the confusion around food labels. She has a pending patent for a food label called Bump Mark that can accurately tell shoppers whether the food is good for consumption.

The label is comprised of a layer of gelatin set above a bumpy plastic sheet. Initially, the gelatin is solid and the bumps cannot be felt. When it starts to decay, however, it liquifies. Since gelatin is a protein and it decays at the same rate as protein-based foods, being able to feel the bumps means that the gelatin has liquified and the food has expired. In a sense, the label "copies" what the food in the packaging is doing and provides a real time "quality status" update, that is much more accurate than printed labels.

Solvegia is currently looking for a commercial partner to help her make the label a reality. 

Photos: Behance

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Top Video Splash
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less