Fully automated sensing technology developed to assist in stock management of products during storage and transportation, improving food safety & maximising shelf-life and quality
Insignia Technologies Ltd. have developed a range of low cost innovative smart labels for the food industry using patented CO2 indicating technology. The labels are colour changing time and temperature indicators (TTIs) which can be used to indicate the freshness and condition of packaged foodstuffs throughout the supply chain and in-store. The technology is versatile and can be used in the supply chain, with retailers or with the consumer. The use of Insignia’s smart labels helps to simplify and improve stock management processes in addition to significantly reduce food waste, enhance food freshness, improve food safety, and extend shelf-life.
Insignia’s range of labels can be attached to products at an item, case or pallet level and changes colour over a specified time and temperature. Using the printed reference colours the user can track the freshness of the product or be alerted to any temperature abuse the produce may have been exposed to. The labels are designed to change colour over a pre-set number of days at a prescribed temperature, and an increase in temperature speeds up the colour change. This allows temperature abused product to be prioritised for use over product that has been held at optimum conditions, facilitating better stock management throughout the supply chain and in-store. The label offers a more realistic view of the actual product life based on the conditions it has been subject to. This helps improve food safety, enhance product freshness, and reduce food waste. Insignia also offer labels for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) that automatically activate upon the packet opening, allowing the consumer to track the freshness of their product (e.g. cooked meats, cheeses) once opened.
It is a priority for retailers to provide the freshest products at high quality to ensure highest level of customer satisfaction. However, with high volumes of inventory, it can be hard to maximise product freshness, shelf-life, and stock rotation.
This easy-to-use technology is an effective tool to assist with this. With its coloured centre, it is more easily observed compared to a date code, and it provides a more realistic indication of the true product life due to its temperature sensitive nature, thus acts as a smart date code. This allows for greater confidence in the quality and shelf-life of the product. At the retailer, the colour can be used to improve stock rotation and management, as the label allows staff to identify older stock that requires prioritising. The use of colour changing labels is effective in improving quality as they act as a visual cue to use the product whilst it is at optimal freshness. This has proven to have a positive effect on waste while increasing awareness of chill chain management. The labels have been proven to help encourage a behavioural change across the supply chain with regards to temperature control and this results in a number of benefits including improved quality and freshness, extended shelf life and ultimately a reduction in food waste.
The use of smart labels for MAP products presents an increased benefit to consumers providing them with a visual indication of how long a food package has been open and encourages them to use the food at its optimum freshness. It also has a positive impact on brand image by showing that the retailer cares about the consumer and helps make the retailer stand out from others.
Insignia have a range of smart labels that can be used depending on the application. For perishable produce, FreshTag can be used, acting as a time and temperature monitoring system to assist with the management of produce in the supply chain, helping to maximise the freshness and quality. The labels can be calibrated to different time and temperature profiles to suit a variety of perishable products e.g. fresh meats, fresh vegetables. The FreshTag labels are applied at the point of manufacture/packing of the product and connect the entire supply chain from the production through to the final customer. They can be applied at a pallet, case, or individual item level.
For MAP applications, the After Opening timer can be used, which is applied to the inside of the packaging and is automatically activated when the pack is opened by the consumer. The labels can be customised for different “consume within” guidelines for products such as cooked meats, cheeses. The label then gradually changes colour over time to indicate how long it has been open for.
An ink-based version of the After Opening freshness timer is available for some applications. Ink is printed within the laminated film structure removing the need for label application.