Edible code reduces need for packaging

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

The edible code can be used to tell consumers allergen information, ingredients and the point of origin for food products
The edible code can be used to tell consumers allergen information, ingredients and the point of origin for food products

Related tags Packaging & labelling

A new edible, scannable code has been developed for food applications, reducing the need for packaging and allowing consumers to track products from farm to fork.

The edible printed ink code can be applied directly to fresh produce, baked goods and meat. Information about the product is provided to the consumer on scanning the code with a special app, presented as an augmented reality experience.

Created by businessman Peter Woods, in partnership with the University of Sunderland, Label Says has been developed to meet the food quality standards framework.

Drastic change

“The way we buy our food will drastically change in the coming years,” ​said Woods. “Climate change, as well as the demand from customers, is driving supermarkets and other food providers to drastically reduce their packaging.

“The application we have developed enables customers to get the relevant information they need about nutrition, sourcing allergies and how to dispose of any waste, without the need for excessive packing. Ultimately, it is better for the customer, the food supplier and our planet.”

The technology is in the process of being patented, with Woods already in talks with a number of British food producers interested in implementing the edible labels in their supply chains.

Pitching stage

Associate professor Derek Watson, leader for innovation and technology transfer and academic industry collaboration at the University of Sunderland, who also worked on the Label Says project, said: “We all worked as a team and have grown from this project; there was a great synergy felt by all from our group dynamic. We are now at a stage where we can pitch the product to the food industry.”

Work on Label Says was supported by funding though the GX Project – a two-year business innovation programme launched as part of the last year’s Great Exhibition of the North – and the European Regional Development Fund, delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI).

Carol Bell, director of major events and festivals at NGI, added: “Innovation is key to the success of any business and Peter has worked closely with both academics and graduates at the University of Sunderland to create this groundbreaking product.​ [It] is a great example of this in action and highlights the many benefits of collaboration.”

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