The development of an innovative new food label could help to lower the amount of wasted produce that ends up in landfills, making it popular among eco-friendly consumers.
Named Bump Mark, the label uses gelatine to provide a touch test for products that enables people to tell whether food is safe to eat or not.
Created by London-based designer Solveiga Pakstaite, it has already won an award from the James Dyson Foundation.
The label consists of gelatine laid over a bumpy plastic sheet. Because gelatine is a food, it decays at the same rate as the produce inside the packaging.
Furthermore, one of gelatine's characteristics is that it changes into a liquid when it expires, which means the bumps in the underlying sheet can be felt as the food becomes increasingly inedible.
"I wanted to create a label that would change its texture over time, and the most logical way that I could think of doing this was to use a biological substance to model the decay process of the food," she explained.
"The label design went through well over 20 iterations, each of which were tested for user perception and technical performance, both equally as important as each other."
Ms Pakstaite said she was inspired to design the product in an effort to help visually-impaired customers. However, she acknowledged that the label would need to be useful across all demographics if it was going to be commercialised.
Talking to the Washington Post, she said the concentration of gelatine can even be changed from product to product, making it a flexible solution for a variety of food types.
For example, weaker dilutions can be used for milk and meat to account for the fact they expire at a faster rate. Ms Pakstaite claimed a phenomenal amount of safe food is unnecessarily thrown away each year and her new label could help prevent this.
There is currently a patent pending on the technology, and Ms Pakstaite is keen to find a business partner that will help her bring the innovation to market quicker.
Posted by Simon Tourle